Profile for GlynLuke > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by GlynLuke
Top Reviewer Ranking: 113
Helpful Votes: 3086

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
GlynLuke (York UK)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
Candyfloss and Medicine
Candyfloss and Medicine
Offered by westworld-
Price: £10.91

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, 19 Oct 2014
This review is from: Candyfloss and Medicine (Audio CD)
I will be atypically brief.
This is a lovely, lovely set of songs by a woman with a captivating voice - how could anyone not like it? - and a wonderful way with a song.
Most of them she wrote/co-wrote herself, the exception being the great old Gene Pitney hit from the sixties, Town Without Pity, a song I'm surprised more singers haven't covered. She keeps the basic arrangement, and gives it the right dramatic treatment - though she's not as overwrought as Pitney, but then who was!
Not one dud song, not a moment I would change.
Perfect is a word forever associated with Eddi R, and listening to this very fine album, it's not hard to see why.

As I said, lovely.

The Fighting Kentuckian (John Wayne) [DVD]
The Fighting Kentuckian (John Wayne) [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Wayne
Price: £5.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Duke & Ollie, 15 Oct 2014
For collectors of offbeat films, or simply for lovers of lesser known Wayne movies, this is something of a peach.
It stars John Wayne and Oliver Hardy. Wait! Who? You heard me. What's more, they have quite a double-act going, with Ollie proving he wasn't only the funniest comedian in the world (in my humble opinion) but was more than capable of turning in a totally credible semi-straight performance, as he does here.
It's set in Alabama in 1812, has a fairly labyrinthine plot, some pretty sensuous romantic interludes, and boasts a female lead much derided in her day, Czech skating star Vera Ralston, who in fact acquits herself well enough, seeming to enjoy her scenes with Wayne, who was still, at a young-looking 42, a beautiful man, as well as becoming one of the movies' most natural actors.
I can't outline the plot, since I'm not entirely sure of it! It involves French refugees who were loyal to Napoleon, criminal land-grabbers, and a troop of Kentucky riflemen of whom the Duke and Ollie are two foremost members.
Ralston is Florette, daughter of the French General, while the enjoyably merry Marie Windsor has a featured role - and a fine old time - as a duplicitous femme fatale, western style.
George Waggner (responsible for The Wolf Man) wrote and directed, the latter rather well, and Bruce Surtees excels behind the camera. The final scenes of battle are beautifully shot and genuinely exciting.
Duke is at his most charming, and Ollie - well, I love the man, and to see him and Wayne so obviously enjoying playing together is a joy in itself. At the end, when Ollie (in a nod to his day-job with Stan) delicately picks a speck of dust from Duke's hat, I nearly stood up in my chair and cheered!
Not a great film by a long way, but unlike anything else I've ever seen, for both good and not so good reasons.

An odd, slightly mad yarn, well worth a watch.

Shootist [DVD] [1976] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Shootist [DVD] [1976] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Dvd ~ John Wayne
Price: £5.35

5.0 out of 5 stars The last chance saloon, 15 Oct 2014
John Wayne, aka the Duke, was one of the subtlest, most natural actors who ever had a camera pointed at them. And I'll fight anyone who says different!
Truly though, the more you watch Wayne, the more you can't help but realise what a superb screen actor he was, often tender (in Hondo for example, his own favourite) or frightening (the second half of Red River) or simply a man of towering dignity (Rio Lobo, El Dorado, etc, etc).
The Shootist was his last hurrah, and few actors have bowed out on such a high note.
He lived on for a few more years, succumbing to cancer at 73, and here he plays an old gunfighter coping with the very same disease. James Stewart is his doctor, Lauren Bacall (in one of her all too rare good roles) his landlady, with the young, callow Ron Howard, better than usual - no wonder he turned to direction - as her son.
The rest of the cast is mouth-watering too: rugged Richard Boone, Scatman Crothers, lanky John Carradine, a MASH-era Harry Morgan, Sheree North, and so on.
It's directed by Don Siegel and photographed by Bruce Surtees. What could go wrong? Thankfully, very little. Even if you'd never seen a Wayne film, this would surely move you. If you love Wayne (the film star, not the reactionary man so much, though he was apparently a thoroughly affable, decent guy) then you can't help but find this almost unbearably poignant.
Ah, but does he die in the end? Well, wild horses wouldn't drag the information out of me. You'll just have to see for yourself. Believe me, you should!

A great film, starring a great film legend.

Strictly Personal
Strictly Personal
Price: £8.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Red blue 'n green, wooo! all through my head, 9 Oct 2014
This review is from: Strictly Personal (Audio CD)
After a few footstep-like drum taps, the mighty Captain Beefheart howls the opening lines of the weirdest blues this side of Blind Willie Johnson or Son House, which is appropriate since Ah Feel Like Ahcid is based on Son House's Death Letter - which believe me you should hear too. You think Beefheart is scary...?
This second LP by Don van Vliet and one of his many Magic Bands is very different from his relatively 'approachable' debut Safe As Milk - whose title is the name of track 2 on this album! It's much more grittily bluesy, with the Captain finding his voice, if I can call it that. Me, I reckon Don found his voice at the bottom of a deep dark well or a heaving swamp - probably wrenched it from the beast lurking there. (Live, his voice was all but overwhelming, as were the Magic Band, in whatever incarnation.)
This remastered edition comes with a twelve-page booklet, including original photos and a superb text by Mark Paytress, who outlines the album's far from easy release, the tracks having been tampered with by producer Bob Krasnow. It's a moot point as to whether he did Beefheart and the record a disservice or not. After all, this is the version I've always known and loved, phasing or no phasing. One thing that wasn't necessary at all was to put psychedelic phasing onto THAT voice, which needs no help to make its presence felt.
It's a short and sweet album at forty minutes (though I've found it flies by in what seems like less) and there are admittedly parts of it are either dirge-like or a mite repetitive. You need to be in the mood to listen to it, quite loud if possible.
Gimme Dat Harp Boy is a blast, as is the last minute or so of Trust Us, and Mirror Man has some very tasty, down-and-dirty playing from both the band and Don's manic mouth organ, not to mention the one moment the phasing works with Don's voice, when he's intoning "Oh Mirror Man, Oh mirror me".
At the end of the closer Kandy Korn is a great moment, when Beefheart, sounding expansive and exultant, comes full circle with cathartic words taken from Ah Feel Like Ahcid:

I ain't blue no more
It's like heaven I said
I said

Unconditionally Guaranteed
Unconditionally Guaranteed
Offered by Helen's Goodies
Price: £8.78

5.0 out of 5 stars All of them peaches, up in one tree, 9 Oct 2014
When this first came out in 1974, Beefheart purists and other twerps gave it a big thumbs down (as they did the rather bland follow-up Bluejeans & Moonbeams, with better reason) saying the good Captain had 'sold out' and other inanities of the era. I ignored the critics, bought the LP, and loved every colourful and diverse moment of it.
Mind you, Don himself disowned this and B&M, and the band hated it. However, that was then, when you could be a bit of a purist about your own music too.
After the first four LPs, Don & his Magic Band began to explore different musical approaches, such as the soulfulness of the magnificent Clear Spot, the bluesy muddy waters of The Spotlight Kid, and this thoroughly entertaining mix of old-style Beefheart bawling and a gentler balladeering vocal style we'd barely suspected the guy had in him (despite the lovely, heartfelt Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles, from Clear Spot).
There's so much to like here, even for those who wouldn't normally go for Beefheart.
The gruffly insinuating opener Upon the My-O-My could be from almost any of his albums (except perhaps Trout Mask Replica!) while Sugar Bowl, New Electric Ride and Full Moon Hot Sun are in a slightly similar mould.
The rest of the tracks are what the critics despised. More fool them.
The tender Magic Be, the hypnotic I Got Love On My Mind, the beautiful This Is The Day and the sultry Lazy Music are all very un-Beefheartian yet hugely likable for all that.
The closer Peaches is a frenetic number that ends this underrated record in fine style.
The other track is Happy Love Song, which is just that, but is sung - Don does more actual singing on this than on almost any other album - grainily and with great passion.
One or two of the tracks are perhaps rather throwaway, but I've loved this LP since the day a Beefheart-mad twenty-three year-old bought it all of forty years ago.

This is the day that love came to play
The day love came to stay
One minute here, one minute there
Love spent time everywhere...

Trout Mask Replica (2013 remaster)
Trout Mask Replica (2013 remaster)

5.0 out of 5 stars Well, 8 Oct 2014
I've lived with this astonishing one-off classic for forty-five years - bought it the same day as Four Sail by Love. I can understand the lower-rated reviews, since this can be hard to take, despite our being used to far stranger music now.
Or are we? A lot of what's come in the wake of TMR has been mainstream rock of one sort or another, or more off-the-wall bands such as Television or Radiohead, but very few who've sounded remotely as challenging or as 'dense' as this. You have to look to avant garde jazz or old blues for an adequate comparison with Don van Vliet and his pseudonymous merry pranksters.
And what a band he had. Saw them live twice, and both times they 'blew my mind' as some of us once said. Zoot Horn Rollo (real name Bill Harkleroad) was, apart from Richard Thompson & Hendrix, the mots incredible guitarist I've ever seen; Ed Marimba (Art Tripp) was, bar none, the greatest drummer in rock; and the wonderful Rockette Morton (Mark Boston) played the heaviest bass in the world. Beefheart reputedly 'taught' them these numbers. Don't you believe it. Whatever the truth, magic was made, not all of it of an enchanting nature, but much of it will purify you if it doesn't scare the pants off you first.
I seldom play TMR these days, preferring most of the Captain's other recordings, from Strictly Personal (thumpingly good spacy-blues) to the marvellous Clear Spot, to the likeable Ice Cream For Crow, with its desert blues feel and its valedictory poignancy.
Don is dead now - can it really be true? - and we'll have no more of his music or his paintings. So let's do him the honour of being honest about the relatively few he left behind.
I have loved TMR with a passion. But - and feel free to disagree - I can't help thinking you 'had to be there' and that this 28-track double LP worked best as exactly that: an LP with fold-out sleeve in good sound, listening to it on a day in the late sixties or seventies, preferably with a simpatico friend, quite loud, and a drink to hand.
Let's not forget, this music can be fun!
I can - and do, given half a chance - still recite The Dust Blows Forward 'n' The Dust Blows Black, and I still love tracks like the grainy China Pig, the frenetic Ant Man Bee, the hilarious Wild Life, and the simplistic but harshly sad Dachau Blues. Then there's the solo recitations, like Steal Softly Thru Snow, the already mentioned The Dust Blows Forward, and the magnificent, deftly titled poem simply called Well.
So no, I don't listen to this notorious, much-played and much-loved Zappa-produced epic all that often, but I can't help feeling that my life would not have been quite the same without it, and I couldn't for a moment imagine the world without Trout Mask Replica in it.

Life floats down the river
on a red raft of blood
Night blocks out the heavens
like a big black shiny bug
Its heart soft, shell shinin'
white in one spot

Ida [DVD]
Ida [DVD]
Dvd ~ Agata Kulesza
Offered by DVDMAX-UK
Price: £10.79

5.0 out of 5 stars The road not taken, 6 Oct 2014
This review is from: Ida [DVD] (DVD)
This is a relentlessly bleak, black & white film with little dialogue, not very many characters, and is about a novice nun in post-war 1960s Poland who receives some information which could change her life dramatically. That it certainly does, but these inevitable dramas seem to happen around her often exasperatingly calm, self-possessed presence.
Pawlikowski has made perhaps the film of his career so far, with performances by his two leading actresses of tremendous poise and nuance.
Newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska (and that's the last time I'm typing all that out!) is just right as Anna/Ida, and Agata Kulesza is perfect as a onetime Stalinist procecutor and aunt of the young noviciate. She's a woman with well-matured reserves of self-loathing, who drinks and sleeps around, this and other aspects of the world Ida sees and watches giving her a raw glimpse into the realities of life outside the severe, though safe, confines of the convent.
The mismatched pair take to the road to try and find where the bodies of Ida's Jewish relatives were buried during the war, but a 'road movie' that could have descended into cliche avoids such pitfalls, its paucity of dialogue, often drab lighting and superbly atmospheric camerawork adding to its stark credibility.
Ida says little, but her eyes see everything, and she's not necessarily the most sympathetic character in this brutally honest film.
What elevated this from the four stars I was going to give it to the five (or, if you like, a nine out of ten) I've ended up giving it is the realisation that it is a film I would happily watch more than once, not so much because I think I 'missed something', but because there is so much that happens between the lines, as it were, so much one has to infer for oneself. In its very austerity, this sad, bleak little tale achieves its strength.
I wouldn't dream of giving anything away, but I must say that the ending (which has an odd, distant echo of the last shot of The Third Man, of all films) was, for me, just a little too decisive, too unambiguous - though I'm aware not everyone agrees with me. To say more would necessitate giving more away than I should.
In fact, the more I ponder the denouement of this fine film, the more I understand its brave, if frustrating, fidelity to the truth of this particular story.
Not a film for those who want a blockbuster or a romcom, but anyone with a heart and soul is likely to see it as manna from heaven.

Piano Works
Piano Works
Offered by horizons-usa
Price: £15.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Wizardry, 5 Oct 2014
This review is from: Piano Works (Audio CD)
This was the first disc of Liszt's piano music I ever bought on CD, soon after its release in 1994 (it seems to have first come out in 1988) and I am very glad that I did since it not only contains the finest Liszt playing I've ever heard by a contemporary pianist, but - in the '94 edition at least - rejoices in a literally warts-and-all, in-your-face photo of old Franz himself on the cover.
The recording is stunning, and Stephen Hough's relentlessly potent playing is little short of stupendous. Liszt, one feels sure, would have applauded. Why this magician of the keyboard isn't even better known and more lauded than he is remains a mystery.
You get a generous, diverse selection from the Hungarian wizard's wide solo piano repertoire, in marvellous sound. (Virgin's trains might not always run on time, but their discs can occasionally amaze.)
I can only urge anyone who appreciates Liszt's piano music, or who has no recordings by Hough, to get hold of a copy of this revelatory disc, play it as loud as you can get away with, and be glad we have musicians around of the calibre and daring of Hough to play these breathtaking works in a manner they so richly deserve.

Thunderously passionate music, played to the hilt.

Symphonies 2 & 3
Symphonies 2 & 3
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £7.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Ives by Bernstein, 5 Oct 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Symphonies 2 & 3 (Audio CD)
My favoured conductor for the great Charles Ives (1874-1954) is usually Michael Tilson Thomas, now as much a champion of the music of this most relentlessly individual of American composers as the conductor of these two beauties, Leonard Bernstein.
But I couldn't resist this 77-minute disc of the middle two symphonies, with a spoken coda in the shape of a short (thirteen-minute) but typically fascinating lecture on Ives by Bernstein. I am old enough to remember Bernstein's unmissable TV music lectures from the sixties, when he talked at far greater length about such great symphonists as Mahler and Shostakovich. There's nothing like them - or to touch them - these days.
The New York Phil have this grand, often meltingly lyrical, sometimes boisterously ingenuous music coursing through their bloodstream, and they make a beautiful noise under Bernstein's loving baton.
I'm becoming something of an Ives 'completist' and so this wonderful disc was an essential for me. This conductor was more instrumental than any in bringing Ives to the people, and his recordings of the New Englander are fine things to own and to listen to.
The music itself? It's Ives: if you know and like him already, you'll want this disc; if you're a newcomer, get stuck in - it's an odyssey like no other.

Unreservedly recommended.

Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931]
Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde (1932 And 1941) [DVD] [1931]
Dvd ~ Fredric March
Price: £6.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mirror images, 3 Oct 2014
It is so good to have these two famous versions of Stevenson's great story on one disc.
What surprised me, not having seen either for many years (they are seldom scheduled on TV) was just what a masterpiece the 1931 film is, with Fredric March excelling as the tortured scientist and his alter ego, with that almost forgotten actress Miriam Hopkins (a big star in her day) superb as the barmaid Hyde takes up with, and Rose Hobart (also a slightly bigger name back then, though, sadly, she fell foul of the Hollywood witch-hunts) excellent as Jekyll's fiancee. The acting overall is very good indeed, particularly for an early thirties horror film. Rouben Mamoulian's direction has an atmospheric, semi-expressionistic quality which gives the film even more of its ominous, fog-bound appeal.
Another plus is its (for the time) daring insistence on a major cause of Jekyll's impatient, mercurial nature being his sexual frustration. This is brought out intelligently and quite explicitly for early Hollywood. March and Hobart play these scenes to the hilt and they add immeasurably to the richness of this great film.
The later Tracy-Bergman-Turner version is interesting, and perfectly valid, with Tracy relying (as the better-cast Jack Palance did later still) on his own acting ability rather than the make-up man. (No sexism there, make-up always seemed to be done by a man, for some reason!)
Good to see Ingrid B playing a tart, since she so often tended to be cast as 'good girls', whereas she was obviously not all sweetness and light. (In fact the more proper she was, the more boring she usually became.)
This is an endlessly fascinating tale, still relevant, and in the earlier of these two versions you not only get a film fairly close to the spirit of the book, but a genuinely fine film in its own right.

Be transformed.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 4, 2014 7:50 PM BST

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