Profile for BeatleBangs1964 > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by BeatleBangs1964
Top Reviewer Ranking: 2,128
Helpful Votes: 1860

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
BeatleBangs1964 (United States)
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Little Mercies
Little Mercies
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer Brilliance!, 23 July 2014
This review is from: Little Mercies (Kindle Edition)
Heather Gudenkauf could no more write a bad book than Paul McCartney could write a bad love song or Honda make a bad car. She is a master story teller, simple as that.

This book, as with her others is told from more than one character's point of view. In this book, we have Ellen Moore, a mother and social worker who is passionate about ALL children, hers and those of others. Her life mission is to place children in as safe a home as humanly possible.

Ellen is married to a truly good man and is blessed with Leah, 9, Lucas, 6 and Avery, 11 months. Their home is a far cry from the abuse, cruelty and domestic violence that the children on Ellen's case list endure. Some of her young clients have become casualties.

Jenny Braird, 10 is a challenge to Ellen. Her mother abandoned her family for life with a male friend. Jenny, then 4 was placed in foster care, which for her was a bad experience. Her father has custody of her and he tells her to board a Greyhound bus before he does. Shortly after boarding that bus, Jenny's father is being questioned by the police. Jenny remains on the bus, en route to her maternal grandmother's house. Her father is subsequently arrested.

As for Ellen, one split second error in judgment proved costly. She absentmindedly leaves her 11-month old daughter in a very hot car which results in the child suffering from heat stroke. Fortunately, a trip to the Emergency Room saves the girl's life, but Ellen is left questioning herself and her line of work. Her two older children fear they'll never see their sister.

Enter Maudene, Ellen's delightful mother. Maudene recognizes abuse when she sees it and immediately takes Jenny into her heart and home. Ellen, in an ironic flip side of her own profession receives a court order to stay away from her daughter and receives additional legal threats to have her other two children taken out of her home.

Questions crop up. Were there any legal grounds to the neglect charges Ellen is facing? And what of Jenny's grandmother? What charges were brought against Jenny's father? Will they be reunited? What of Jenny's mother? And will Ellen be able to restore her reputation?

This is a beautiful, sad, tender, tough, gentle, heartwarming story all in one. The characters are very plausible and readers are immediately drawn into their literary world. This is a book readers will want to stay with to the very last page. At the risk of sounding mawkish, I am going to miss these characters. If I could rate this 10 plus stars, I would happily do so.


Good Ol' Freda [DVD]
Good Ol' Freda [DVD]
Dvd ~ Freda Kelly
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Kudos to Freda!, 7 Jun 2014
This review is from: Good Ol' Freda [DVD] (DVD)
This film got some warm-up showings at Austin Texas' annual South by Southwest (SXSW) in March of 2013. It was met with rave reviews and from there was shown nationwide at the annual Fests for Beatles Fans. I saw it and love it!

Like the Scorcese documentary "Living In The Material World" and the Cirque du Soleil's "Love" tribute to the Beatles, the two surviving Beatles and their spouses as well as their bandmates' widows were approached and "Good Ol' Freda" got the nod from all directly involved. Ryan White who directed this stellar work did his homework and did it well. Nobody can argue with the high level of research that went into making this film.

What distinguishes this film from the myriad of films about the Beatles including documentaries is that it is not the cliche exposé that so many purporting to be documentaries are. Freda Kelly, the Beatles' secretary has lived privately and quietly and has only just come forward with her observations about her job. Freda is a very likable and sincere person and when she speaks, she really has something to say. Her children and grandson are also in the film and they all were in deep respect for this humble woman who chose not to cash in on the Beatles' name to fame.

Viewers get a fresh look at the Beatles as well as enjoying a damn good soundtrack. Freda shares photos of members of the Beatles' familes that had previously been unpublished. She was friends with Elsie Gleave Starkey, who viewed her as the daughter she wished she had and the sister she wished her son Ritchie (Ringo) had. I loved these accounts; one that was especially delightful was when she met the Harrisons and George's father Harry wanted to teach her how to do ballroom dancing. (Makes you think of their son George singing "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" in 1964.) Harry and Louise Harrison taught ballroom dancing for years and in the book "Living in the Material World," there is a picture of Harry and Louise going out dancing. There is a lovely picture of Harry dancing with Freda in this film. I had a bit of a giggle at that. Freda describes Harry and Louise much as George's first wife did - short in stature and delightfully Liverpudlian. The Harrisons were known to be extremely cordial and appreciative of their fans and made no bones about their appreciation for Freda's work with and for the Beatles.

"Good Ol' Freda" treats viewers to an array of lovely images. I especially loved the ones of Freda herself, then and currently taking walks by old stomping grounds and landmarks throughout Liverpool. As an added treat, Tony Barrow, who was the Beatles' press secretary was interviewed along with others who traveled that Long & Winding Road throughout the Beatles' careers.

Freda, solid and dependable was not one to act a fool and go wild over the Beatles. She kept a level head and a professional demeanor and took her job seriously and did it well. She became the "go-to" person where the Beatles were concerned; Pat Kinzer Mancuso even mentions Freda Kelly in her book, Do You Want to Know a Secret?: The Story of the Official George Harrison Fan Club. Freda was a regular guest in the Beatles' homes; she remained a welcome guest in the houses of Harrison and Starkey for years.

George Harrison's sister Louise has said on numerous interviews in recent years (you can catch her on LouTube) that most Britons are humble and not apt to bang on their own drum. That certainly is true on Freda's case. She has refused to write a tell all memoir after years of being asked to to so. Ten years after the Beatles came to America, she parted with her massive Beatles' collection. Darn shame, really. The collection alone would have been worth keeping.

Freda Kelly has rightfully earned a place of high respect. She has wisely chosen not to engage in "Devil's Radio," as George Harrison would have said. George, described by Louise from the time he was a very young boy was one who detested gossip and this was never more true than when he recorded the above mentioned song. Freda is a Godsend; by NOT downgrading anybody or telling titillating tales out of school, she has set a good tone and good example. This has reflected well on her and makes her all the more somebody you can respect. She is a far cry from Francie Schwartz!

Freda's own immediate family were not aware of her job and her contacts with the Beatles for many years. Her daughter Rachel was impressed with what she learned from watching the film as it was, as she said, mostly new and fresh information for her. Freda has shielded her family from the public eye and her current disclosures have sparked interests, which is natural. At no time does she compromise her standards.

The 1965 John Lennon classic is very a propos in re this film. "Some are dead and some are living/in my life, I've loved them all." The senior Harrisons, John's Aunt Mimi who raised him; Julia Stanley Lennon and Freddie ("that Alf Lennon" as the Stanley Sisters called him), Elsie Starkey Graves and Harry Graves, Richard Starkey Sr. and Mary and Jim McCartney as well as John Lennon and George Harrison are sadly no longer with us. The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein died in 1967. The deaths of these key players make the 1965 classic "In My Life" all the more poignant and fitting for this film.

As for Freda, her willingness to come forward now after nearly half a century has enriched and touched many lives. That would certainly include those of viewers and hard core inveterate Beatles' fans as well as the Beatles themselves. Freda is even given a nod on the boys' Christmas albums. Kudos to Rachel Kelly Norris and her son who, as the newer generations encouraged Freda to reconsider coming forward and sharing her experiences during the Swinging Sixties, a time of Ford Falcons and wonderful music.

Ringo Starr, the Beatle whose mother bonded with Freda thanks her during the credits and Paul McCartney, the other living Beatle supported this film. Angie McCartney, Paul's stepmother agreed to do a short interview and Paul's younger brother Michael agreed to supply some early photographs for the film as well.

In just under an hour and a half, you will go on the Magical Mystery Tour of your life and one you will never forget or regret. This is a film I cannot recommend highly enough and it is a must have for all Beatles' fans and for all who are interested in the Beatles. Freda is a vital key player and without her help and input, who knows how history would have played out. Thanks to Freda, we can now give her the kudos she richly deserves.


Dear Killer
Dear Killer
by Katherine Ewell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

1.0 out of 5 stars Bloody Atrocious!, 6 Jun 2014
This review is from: Dear Killer (Hardcover)
This review is from: Dear Killer (Kindle Edition)

"She was just 17, you know what I mean..." -- Paul McCartney from "I Saw Her Standing There" 1963

I have to agree with the other 1-star reviewers, especially the U.S. reviewer who was upset at having "wasted time with this garbage!" I hated every damn single character and the story as well. There was absolutely NO sense in this implausible tale. This atrocious book is just as bad as Caroline Cooney's execrable and farcical Mummy. Emlyn of Mummy infamy was bad enough, but Kit tops the charts! This is one of the worst books I have EVER read!

This story is beyond asinine. A teenage serial killer who is called The Perfect Killer because she's never gotten caught? PUH-LEEASE! How ridiculous can you get? This idiotic tale makes one wonder if the author, herself very young and only at the time of this review slightly older than Kit, her loathsome protagonist intended this to be a farce. Farcical and fanciful are too kind to be applied to this book. I truly hate it with an Aries passion.

Kit was morally bankrupt. She was a genuine psychopath and so is her equally depraved mother. Kit has been killing people for nearly half of her life. She started on her killing career at the tender age of 9. Yes, 9! You also have to wonder about the killer's mother, herself skilled in homicide who brings in a detective who is working hard on unmasking the Perfect Killer. Kit's mother was every bit as evil and depraved as Kit and actually taught and trained Kit to follow in her footsteps. Kit was jailbait and the detective was taking a cliche interest in her...oh, for Pete's sake! She was just 17, you know what I mean...Jailbait! Sex offender status, anyone?

Kit kept banging on her own drum and singing her own praises about how perfect and wonderful she was. I didn't see her that way. I saw her as a loathsome psychopath and bore who was in dire need of a good a** kicking. I kept waiting to see evidence of just how brilliant she was and never once was given reason to share Kit's highly inflated and delusional opinion of herself.

This story is just so darn asinine and riddled with holes big enough for you to drive a fleet of trucks through. Come on, gang! Here is this minor, this underaged girl teaming up with the detective who is almost twice her age. She's the killer leading him on in every sense of the term. Now get this: the detective confides in Kit. How implausible is that? Surely the guy has to know how old Kit is unless he is a pedophile and/or willing to risk jail time for jailbait. Is she even worth it? A resounding NO!!!!

This just gets more and more ridiculous. The local police allow Kit to view a crime scene; Kit contaminates evidence by being allowed to handle it and gets Addled Alex the Jailbait Chasing detective to provide her with graphic descriptions of carnage and murder. Now that is just plain sick, sorry.

If you want to ratchet up the sheer asininity, how about THIS: people write Kit wanting those who have crossed them killed. Even her classmates put in requests. How is it this highly suspicious activity is not investigated? And how do people even know how to contact her to place hits on people? That is veering off into an area beyond asinine to the nth degree!

Then, here is the capper: Kit leaves the death request letters with the people who have been killed. She's like Hansel leaving a trail to be found. How is it that the police are too damn obtuse to follow that trail and find her?

It is as plain as day that Kit has no conscience and has no more remorse for her crime spree than Charles Manson or Jack the Ripper. Then, to make a bad story even worse, shortly after killing somebody, Kit turns on the waterworks and screams that the victim didn't deserve to die. What made her put on that little demo? Had to get into character for an audience? Trying to throw people off her trail? Crying in her beer because this hit was on the house meaning she didn't get paid for this one? All of the above, most likely. Kit had no moral compass and was every bit as disgusting as some of the real life killers who have killed with no remorse.

This just was not a good or convincing story and the characters had nothing to recommend them. Yes, I know I am wording this review strongly, but few books have angered and disgusted me to the extent that this one did. Yes, I admit reading this because it was like a train crash - you stare in horrified fascination. With this lousy book, you can't help but think, "this damn book could ONLY get better." Sadly, that was an overestimation.

The ending was just too weird, stupid and completely implausible. If you feel you have to read this or if your curiosity was piqued like mine was, read this in the library or a local bookstore. DO NOT waste your money on this. And yes, I agree with the reviewer who described this atrocious drivel as manure. Well said.


The Beatles At Shea Stadium: The Story Behind Their Greatest Concert
The Beatles At Shea Stadium: The Story Behind Their Greatest Concert
Price: £6.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beatles Make the Scene at Shea Stadium!, 8 Feb 2014
On Sunday, August 15, 1965 the Beatles made history when they made the scene at Queens N.Y.' Shea Stadium! After audiences sat through some pre-concert performances by other artists, Ed Sullivan announced the Beatles' arrival by helicopter with these immortal words:

"Honored in their country, decorated by their Queen and loved here in America, here they are, the Beatles!"

History was made as this concert was the first of many to come that was held in a sports arena. For years, the 1965 concert held the distinction of being the largest concert venue with the largest attendance on record.

This book is a must-have for all fans. Readers are treated to the events leading up to the famous 1965 concert and input from other insiders such as Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow, a famous N.Y. disc jockey like Murray "the K" Kaufman, jokingly called the Fifth Beatle due to his incessant trailing and recording the Beatles when they arrived in America in 1964 and concert promoter Sid Bernstein. Interviews with those involved in making the concert take place and some of the lucky attendees are included all to make readers feel as if they were there! You can see that parking lot full of Better Idea Ford Falcons, some serious 1965 Dodge Coronets and other cool cars and trappings of the time to transport you to when the Beatles made history at Shea Stadium!

Shea Stadium was the jumping off point for future concerts by other artists. Because of the set up there, performers began demanding that security be beefed up and that their sound systems checked and ready to go so that attendees would be able to enjoy the show. In today's world, performers have large screens set up behind them so that all attendees can see them and the sound system in today's Digital Age ensures that no ears are deprived of the music. Shea Stadium was the precursor for events to come. There were no fights; no riots and no people getting hurt during the 1965 show.

Shea Stadium was such a success that the Beatles went on to do another concert there on August 23, 1966. Each time the shows were successful with no untoward incidents. Each time the Beatles added another cheerful chapter to music and cultural history.

Some of those fortunate enough to have attended are Judith Kristen, author of A Date with a Beatle, the future Mrs. Ringo Starr, Barbara Bach and Linda (nee Eastman) McCartney. A touch of irony is to be had, but of a good kind.

This book covers the 1965 concert when the Beatles wore their iconic light brown paramilitary jackets. Each song is discussed in great depth and detail as well as audience reaction. Readers will scream along with their 1965 counterparts when John plays the keyboard with his elbow and when George tosses his beautiful wavy hair. Fans will scream at the mention of the songs and sing and/or play them while reading this book. You will want to heighten the 1965 experience by watching your 1965 Beatles' Shea Stadium Concert dvd. I highly recommend it.

Shea Stadium no longer stands. Like the Cavern back in England, way back in England, it is now an integral part of history. Paul McCartney would, ironically appear in concert at Shea Stadium for the old venue's last performance. The same driver who spirited the Beatles away in 1965 after the show would, some 40 years later spirit Paul away in a car not nearly as coooool as the classics of 1965. (Can't forget that Falcon, Galaxie and those serious Coronets, Darts and Valiants!)

Readers will also be treated to documents in re the 1965 concert. There is no shortage of excellent information and excellent photographs and accounts by those fortunate enough to have been there. I give this book the highest endorsement and a hearty, resounding YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!


I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames: My Insane Life Raising Two Boys With Autism
I Wish I Were Engulfed in Flames: My Insane Life Raising Two Boys With Autism
by Jeni Decker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.78

4.0 out of 5 stars Burning Down the House!, 8 Jan 2014
This book is VERY funny! Jeni Decker has a WICKED sense of humor and, as she herself says in this book, she is good with words. In fact, she is damn good!

Jeni, the mother of Jake, (born 1996) and Jaxson (born 2000) tells the travails of raising 2 boys with autism. Jake is not as severely affected; is quite bright and a number of his writings are included in the book. The inclusion of Jake's work makes the story even more effective.

Jake, the older son has meltdowns; cannot stand the touch and feel of paper and like most people on the autism spectrum detests surprises and loud noises. I felt Jake's pain in re his aversion for topics fecal; I hate feces and find fecal talk stomach turning. In fact, the only thing I DIDN'T like about this book were the graphic fecal tales. Jake's fecal issues included his asking Jeni to inspect him after he used the bathroom to make sure he had completely cleaned himself. Jake's related sensory issues included only using wet wipes instead of toilet paper. His social skills, while never his forte included asking for a cleanliness "inspection" even at age 12!

Jaxson, on the other has severe autism. He has severe meltdowns, sometimes resulting in injury to his brother. He is marginally verbal; partially toilet trained (there is a section devoted to how Jax would change his own Pull-Ups after each trip to the bathroom and a funny part about how he stashed the discarded soiled ones in a neighbor's yard until the irate neighbor demanded to know what was going on. Even though I hate fecal tales, that story about the stash and the neighbor was funny). He also is quite computer savvy and even films his own stools. I didn't like the part about the stool show or any of the graphic fecal tales.

Jake's maturation is chronicled in this book. Even when he learns that Santa is just smoke and mirrors, he needs time to accept the fact that Santa is just a trick and not real. (I am no fan of Santa and I could understand how Jake felt). Jake absolutely detests school and his eloquent, poignant writings bring readers into the pain he undergoes on a daily basis. He is fully aware of his autism and how it impacts on his life. He has some special interests, including Pokemon. Jeni's aversion for and level of how sick of Pokemon was funny in how she described it. When Jake was 7 and still unfortunately believed in Santa, he wrote an email to the Pokemon HQ requesting a Pokemon game tailored to his vision. She added a letter to his, telling the Pokemon Company how she felt and why. She also sent a faux-mail to her son from "Santa" explaining why this could not be done. (That is why I am no fan of Santa because I feel Santa is just trickery and deception). Still and all, it was funny.

On a serious note, Jeni and her husband Will separated for a period.

Jeni's girlhood and her parents brought many laughs. Old hippies, they would smoke grass around Jeni and her sister; hung out with others who shared their interests and lifestyles and taught the girls how to roll joints when they were still children. Jeni's mother had a VERY bawdy sense of humor and was not above making racy and off-color comments and telling blue jokes in front of her kids, while still children and even her grandsons. She was a very funny person. I laughed my head off when she told one doctor in quite crude terms that she had not slept with a man since the 1970s. Let's just say she was quite a distinctive personality!

Jake's bonding with the pigs on the family farm in Michigan is funny, yet poignant. I couldn't help but think of the 1968 George Harrison song, "Piggies" when I read the parts about the pig sty. Jake, always very sensitive to odors, was able to tolerate the stench of the sty because he loved his porcine pals.

I enjoyed this book. I loved it when Jeni included the "goo goo ga joob" line from the Beatles' 1967 classic "I am the Walrus." I especially loved it when she said she would start playing 2 1968 Beatle classics for her sons, "Hey Jude" and the George Harrison classic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," which would be a good thing for them.

This is a funny book. While I didn't like the scatalogical stories or the irreverent expressions, I enjoyed the book and had many a giggle over it. The Talking Heads' 1983 classic "Burning Down the House" could be the soundtrack of this book.


The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
by Heidi W. Durrow
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bigotry Comes in All Colors, 15 Sep 2013
Rachel, 11 is biracial. Her mother is Danish and her father is black. Rachel spent her early childhood in Germany and did not give her rich racial heritage much thought. She is brown in coloring and her eyes are blue. When Rachel and her family are struck by tragedy after moving to the United States, Rachel is sent to live with her paternal grandmother in Portland, Oregon. The neighborhood in which Rachel's grandmother lives is predominantly black.

Once in Portland, Rachel is literally hung up between two sticks. She is the target of insider bigotry. Other black kids pull her hair and accuse her of having delusions of Caucasian superiority because she does not fit a racial mold. The age old racist claim of "thinking one is white" simply because they don't use bad grammar and street argot or act like an unflattering stereotype is one that irks me to no end. It is one thing to adjust one's speech accordingly, but NEVER dumb down for anyone. Using good grammar and demonstrating a good vocabulary is one good way to command respect.

While I'm at it, good grammar and a large vocabulary is not exclusive to ANY race. There is NO legitimate reason to deed over one's right to speaking the Lingua Pura to others lest they be ostracized or targeted for attack for not using street argot. I have always believed that bad grammar and street talk is a DEPLETION of language and a form of shackling oneself to stereotypes and carry overs to a bad time in history when knowledge and learning were denied to blacks. I feel very strongly about this and I will admit that I never liked street talk and feel that it does not speak to class. Trying to enforce other members of a particular group to speak and act in stereotypical ways is the modern day equivalent of slavery. Willfully choosing ignorance reflects badly on whoever makes this choice and sadly reinforces negative racial stereotypes. I don't feel these insider racist claims and demonstrations of insider bigotry is helpful to anyone. Again, since I do feel passionate about this, I believe that shackling oneself to an atrocious bygone era and upholding ignorance does nobody any favors.

Rachel naturally feels like an outsider among her family and peers. Because she is clearly biracial, she defies all stereotypes. During Rachel's early years in Germany, she was simply accepted and gave no thought to the fact that she was the daughter of an interracial couple. Most people, including those who are "identifiably" black are a mix of other races as well. Race is a congenital condition. Race has nothing to do with how one talks, dresses, speaks or what cultural influences they enjoy. Sadly, people often want to label others and that confines people into places where they just don't fit. That is ENFORCING beliefs on others and trying to categorize them in simplistic terms when people are NOT simplistic; they are complex!

Durrow, who shares an Afro-Danish history with her character, Rachel has written a brilliant story. (Model Melyssa Ford also shares an Afro-Scandinavian ancestry.) Black, white, how about both? Most people are! Most people are the products of MORE than one race! Family secrets and family dynamics as well as the place for race are discussed candidly and realistically. Rachel is branded as "light skinned-ed" which is bad enough, but to add insult to injury her peers ride her for "talking white." Since when is it white to use good grammar and eschew street argot? That claim has always struck me as asinine to the nth degree.

Rachel herself has some similar feelings as she cringes at her grandmother's "dialectical" speech. Readers learn about Rachel's parents and their social attitudes. Although part of this story takes place in the 1980s, it remains relevant and the socioracial issues resound to this day.

I could identify with Rachel. Being branded a race is bad enough, but when it is prefaced with "light skinned," it adds insult to injury. The tacit message is that people often feel a need to define members of the black race by their skin tone. Non-blacks who use this term raise the question of if they feel that members of the black race who are less ethnic and/or lighter in appearance are more acceptable overall. I have never liked the term "light skinned" because I never saw the need to define or identify a person by their skin tone. Archie Bunker comes in all colors. Bigotry, ironically enough, is an equal opportunity form of ignorance. Bigotry is not limited to any one group and the targets are also not limited to just one group. Hair is a very trenchant issue among many blacks and Rachel learns this the hard way. Other girls pull her long hair and make catty comments about her appearance. There is also a classist assumption about hair texture: the less ethnic one's hair is, the "better off" that person is viewed. (Just watch Chris Rock's 2009 movie Good Hair.) There is also the very real issue of internecine bigotry. Often blacks who are less ethnic in appearance are targeted by other blacks who try to pigeonhole them and charge them with having delusions of superiority. That is downright asinine! It's all bigotry, any way you toss the dice. How can anybody claim to know what another thinks? And for a group with a history of being targeted based on the color of their skin and general appearance, it is damned ironic and very upsetting that there is a faction who practice this kind of insider racism replete with ridiculous racist ideas.

This is a very good book that is serious, topical and in your face. Yeah, it will evoke strong reactions in readers. That is because it covers issues that many feel strongly about, more often than not for having lived through some of these race based targeting methods. It is something that many people can relate to, particularly if they lived with insider bigotry. Rachel herself grows and her view of the world naturally changes with time and maturation. Again, this is a book that is a much needed work as these are issues that sadly still exist.

Michael Jackson's 1991 hit "Black or White" is definitely the soundtrack of this book.


George Harrison: That's the Way God Planned it
George Harrison: That's the Way God Planned it
by Kevin Roach
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem!, 10 Sep 2013
I loved this book. Kevin Roach has plainly researched the French and Harrison families and previously unpublished photos and documents have been included. You get a clear picture of the two families who created George Harrison.

Louisa Woollam, George's maternal grandmother is repeatededly called "Louise" throughout the book. Other books report her name as being Louisa, her fourth child and third daughter Louise, a variation of Louisa is plainly her namesake.

Another question was when Harry Harrison and Louise French were reported as having married in May of 1931. All other books and documents record the Harrison-French union as having taken place in May of 1930. Their first child, daughter Louise was born over a year later on August 16, 1931. Roach suggests that the union, which did not take place in a church was because Louise was already expecting their daughter. No place else has this ever been suggested or reported. That is a question as to why and how this was stated in this book.

Readers are treated to stories about the various members of the Harrison and French families. Readers see a picture of Harry's father, Henry Harrison who died in 1914 during WWI at Mons. (Hunter Davies' mentions this briefly in The Beatles: The Authorised Biography. All Davies says is that Henry Harrison was killed in Mons and that his widow, Jane was "put off services" and "didn't want her son to enlist.")

Bonus treats include stories about the lives of the Harrison and French families and readers get a sense of both sets of George's grandparents and great grandparents. I loved the parts about the church Louise French attended for many years. The church was lovely and a most welcome addition to and a very important part of the French/Harrison story. A devoted Catholic, Louise had all 4 of her little Harrisons baptized at Our Lady of Good Help, their neighborhood parish. Each Harrison child's baptismal certificate is included, along with those of Harold Sr. and Louise French. An interesting aside: Louise and her children's baptismal certificates are written in Latin and the names inscribed on each are Latinized. Harold Sr., who was not baptized in a Catholic church had a baptismal certificate written entirely in English.

An additional aside: the two oldest Harrison children, Louise and little Harold were baptized on the same day. Lou was nearly 3 and her brother little more than a newborn at the time. (George's Catholic roots stayed with him and bore fruit. He kept a beautiful statue of Mother Mary on his grounds at Friar Park.)

Another treat was the painting of the lovely house and garden where Louisa Woollam grew up. Gardening and a love for flora ran on both sides of the Harrison-French families and it should come as no surprise that George loved gardening and saw himself as a gardener. There is a lot of Louise French in George - he was Harold Sr. from the eyes up and Louise French from the nose down. In 1965, Louise told her son's fan club members that she thought George looked like her dad, a tall man from Ireland. An avid gardener herself, Louise chafed at the move from her original home with Harry to the famed home in Speke because she was displeased with the way many neighborhood kids trampled her garden. In 1965 when George bought the senior Harrisons a lovely home in Appleton, he made sure there was plenty of land for them to garden, much to their delight.

This book is a gift that keeps giving. Readers will thank Kevin Roach for his tireless contributions and research and George's sister Louise and their cousin Anthony French for their invaluable input and contributions. Thank you!


George Harrison That's The Way God Planned It.
George Harrison That's The Way God Planned It.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem!, 10 Sep 2013
I loved this book. Kevin Roach has plainly researched the French and Harrison families and previously unpublished photos and documents have been included. You get a clear picture of the two families who created George Harrison.

Louisa Woollam, George's maternal grandmother is repeatededly called "Louise" throughout the book. Other books report her name as being Louisa, her fourth child and third daughter Louise, a variation of Louisa is plainly her namesake.

Another question was when Harry Harrison and Louise French were reported as having married in May of 1931. All other books and documents record the Harrison-French union as having taken place in May of 1930. Their first child, daughter Louise was born over a year later on August 16, 1931. Roach suggests that the union, which did not take place in a church was because Louise was already expecting their daughter. No place else has this ever been suggested or reported. That is a question as to why and how this was stated in this book.

Readers are treated to stories about the various members of the Harrison and French families. Readers see a picture of Harry's father, Henry Harrison who died in 1914 during WWI at Mons. (Hunter Davies' mentions this briefly in The Beatles: The Authorised Biography. All Davies says is that Henry Harrison was killed in Mons and that his widow, Jane was "put off services" and "didn't want her son to enlist.")

Bonus treats include stories about the lives of the Harrison and French families and readers get a sense of both sets of George's grandparents and great grandparents. I loved the parts about the church Louise French attended for many years. The church was lovely and a most welcome addition to and a very important part of the French/Harrison story. A devoted Catholic, Louise had all 4 of her little Harrisons baptized at Our Lady of Good Help, their neighborhood parish. Each Harrison child's baptismal certificate is included, along with those of Harold Sr. and Louise French. An interesting aside: Louise and her children's baptismal certificates are written in Latin and the names inscribed on each are Latinized. Harold Sr., who was not baptized in a Catholic church had a baptismal certificate written entirely in English.

An additional aside: the two oldest Harrison children, Louise and little Harold were baptized on the same day. Lou was nearly 3 and her brother little more than a newborn at the time. (George's Catholic roots stayed with him and bore fruit. He kept a beautiful statue of Mother Mary on his grounds at Friar Park.)

Another treat was the painting of the lovely house and garden where Louisa Woollam grew up. Gardening and a love for flora ran on both sides of the Harrison-French families and it should come as no surprise that George loved gardening and saw himself as a gardener. There is a lot of Louise French in George - he was Harold Sr. from the eyes up and Louise French from the nose down. In 1965, Louise told her son's fan club members that she thought George looked like her dad, a tall man from Ireland. An avid gardener herself, Louise chafed at the move from her original home with Harry to the famed home in Speke because she was displeased with the way many neighborhood kids trampled her garden. In 1965 when George bought the senior Harrisons a lovely home in Appleton, he made sure there was plenty of land for them to garden, much to their delight.

This book is a gift that keeps giving. Readers will thank Kevin Roach for his tireless contributions and research and George's sister Louise and their cousin Anthony French for their invaluable input and contributions. Thank you!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2013 8:54 PM BST


When They Were Boys
When They Were Boys
by Larry Kane
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Day, Sunshine!, 26 Aug 2013
This review is from: When They Were Boys (Hardcover)
"In my life, I've loved them all." -- John Lennon, 1965 from "In My Life"

The Beatles have been an important staple in my life for the majority of my life. When I say I love the Beatles, I mean I REALLY love them!

Larry Kane was the only American reporter who flew with the Beatles during their US tours. This book is an excellent, full picture of the boys' lives and readers get a sense of each Beatle and the people who shaped him. (Larry Kane's favorite Beatle is John. He disclosed this when he spoke at the 2003 Chicago Fest for Beatle Fans and boy, he is an EXCELLENT speaker and raconteur! I heard the man speak 3 times and I even have an autographed copy of Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 and 1965 Tours That Changed the World).

I had a bit of a giggle when Larry Kane said that George was "the spitting image of his father, Harold Sr." True, George did have the paternal traits of the Harrison ears; the deep set signature Harrison eyes and the thick wavy hair. The bulk of his beauty came from Louise French and the men in the French family. He was Harold Sr. from the eyes up and Louise French from the nose down and he had the lean, ectomorphic French build from the men in the French family.

I also had another giggle when Kane claimed that Yoko met John's Uncle George, which we know never took place. The man died in the 1950s, years before John even met Yoko!

Then there was Kane's claim that there was rivalry between Paul and Stu over who was bassist. Kane claims that Paul wanted Stu ousted from the group as he wanted to be the sole bassist. That has never been suggested anywhere else and that claim appears to be a fallacy. The three "core" Beatles were all guitarists before Stu entered the picture and many have said that Stu's guitar skills were rather limited.

As for poor Pete Best, he was not the greatest drummer under Here Comes the Sun. He can be heard on the Beatles' Anthology 1 and his timing left a lot to be desired. Tony Sheridan, a very early pre-Beatles and Beatles' insider also noted that Pete's drumming was not teriffic and he did not strive to improve. Naturally the Best family found their version of Pete's ultimate dismissal from the group more palatable. They claim he was fired. Sheridan was an objective party and I would certainly put more stock into what he said than what the Best family said. Sheridan was also a noted musician during the early days of rock and roll. Add to it is that if Pete's performance and displays of irresponsibility, e.g. missing rehearsals, showing up late and reported conflicts with other members, then how on earth could he reasonably expect to stay in the group? And if he was not doing well in 1962, he would have been left behind for sure by 1965 when the Beatles' music entered the Experimental Phase. As another reviewer on the U.S. boards noted, I, too am glad Pete got his day in the sun with monetary recognition from the Anthology releases, but even so that doesn't mean he belonged as the Beatles' drummer. Yeah, he deserved his long overdue nod, but no, I don't think the Beatles should have kept him on for the reasons they themselves have given.

Readers get a broader and fuller picture of the other members of the Quarrymen, the Beatles' first incarnation as a band; the unfortunate Pete Best who was sacked in 1962 to be replaced by Ringo Starr and the people who were part of the Beatles' touring days of 1964 - 1966. Readers also get treated to stories about the Beatles' trips to Germany in 1960 and 1961 and learn that Harold Sr. was "livid" upon George's being deported in 1960 due to being underage. The Beatles' friends in Germany, Astrid who gave them their iconic beautiful coiffure and Jurgen, famous for his early photographs of the "pre-Fabs" and also Klaus Voormann, who would later draw the cover for their 1966 "Revolver" album are fully "introduced" to readers. An excellent Beatle biography is like the 1966 Paul McCartney classic, a genuine "Good Day Sunshine."

Larry Kane is a truly gifted writer and writing a good Beatle biography that stands out among the plethora of good Beatle books is not easy to do, but he did it. I am an inveterate, hard core Beatle fanatic and have been one since I was tire high to a Ford Falcon and a Ford Galaxie. The Beatles were with me, every step of the way. In my life, I've loved them all and always will. Larry Kane tells how each member of the band including the early players in their early line ups and their evolution to the Beatles, the Fab 4, the Moptops, the WORLD's NUMBER ONE BAND who influenced EVERY aspect of culture and not just pop culture brilliantly and masterfully.

It is a treat to read Larry Kane's accounts of his days as a reporter with access to the World's Greatest Band. He has, as another U.S. reviewer rightfully pointed out earned his title as the World's Best Beatle Biographer. Be sure to read Ticket to Ride: Inside the Beatles' 1964 and 1965 Tours That Changed the World and listen to the bonus CD that come swith it and his biography of John Lennon. I promise you that you will not be disappointed! Larry Kane is here to stay!


Apologize, Apologize!
Apologize, Apologize!
by Elizabeth Kelly
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.26

1.0 out of 5 stars These Characters Put the DYS in DYSfunctional!, 26 Jun 2013
This review is from: Apologize, Apologize! (Paperback)
I admit that I really didn't like this book and I disliked most of the characters, other than the atrociously named protagonist, Collie Flanagan and his delightfully excentric grandfather, Peregrine, nicknamed the Falcon. (I love falcons and other birds of prey).

Here is the story: Collie was born on November 22, 1963 a day eternally linked with the assassination of President Kennedy. He was named Collie because Lad, the title character in the 1962 movie "Lad: A Dog" was a collie. Good thing that maudlin movie wasn't about a Dandy Dinmont Terrier or an Aafenpincher or he might have been named Dandy D or Aafenpincher. His poor brother fared no better - born on August 3, 1964 he was named Bingo after an Irish Setter Anaļs once had. (Too bad he wasn't named Ringo after the Beatle.) Their mentally ill mother Anaļs beats her husband and generally is an androphobe. She punishes her children because they were born boys and her brother is just as bipolar and eccentric as she is, only he at least is a tad nicer. That isn't saying much. Collie's prodigal brother Bingo lives the spendthrift life - casual sex by middle school and a list of expulsions from prestigious prep schools in the U.S. and Canada. I just could not like Bingo.

Bingo and Anaļs fared miserably as well. They both became literary casualties in 1983. One wonders what took this author so long to kill them off. The pen really IS mightier than the sword.

Again, I readily admit that I didn't like this book, but read it because it was like a train crash - you stare in horrified fascination. Any mother who expresses outright hatred for her children is certainly not a likable character. Anaļs was described as bipolar and her behavior supports that diagnosis. She is also a thoroughly hateful and reprehensible character. As another reviewer on the U.S. boards noted, Anaļs lavished love and praise on Bingo and their relationship appeared to be quasi-incestuous. The husband is an alcoholic known for getting drunk and acting a fool and the uncle is just plain weird. His idea of fun was to quiz Collie on trivia. The only part I liked was learning certain terms for groupings, e.g. a kettle of hawks, a rhumba of rattlesnakes.

The Falcon, while to his credit appreciates fine birds is a rich old buzzard who does not appreciate his grandchildren. He and Anaļs butt heads; she was on the emotional and social plane of a teen rebel. Anaļs is the picture of stunted emotional growth and remained firmly fixed in adolescent rebellion. She repudiated all he espoused such as a good work ethic and a sense of parental responsibility. The Falcon rightfully "coolly framed Anaļs in contempt." Anaļs also "madehating her father her life's workand study, her daddy doctorate." This book, as another reviewer astutely noted, the Flanagan wealth does nothing to buy this dysfunctional band of literary misfits happiness (or as Paul McCartney wrote in 1964, "Can't Buy Me Love.") There is a real PAUCITY, rather a DEARTH of love in this weird story. An astute reviewer on the U.S. boards notes that this book has failed to "be imbued with mad humor;" it is just plain mad. And maddening.

This is a ridiculous story populated with ridiculous characters and just isn't funny. As another U.S. reviewer noted, this book crashes and burns and is NOT the source of a "rare gift." The characters were just so unappealing that I was not able to summon up any sympathy or liking for them.

This book's soundtrack could well be the Doors' "Break on Through to the Other Side."


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20