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Alan Halpin (Essex, UK)

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The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion
The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion

5.0 out of 5 stars In my Top 5 albums... out of about 2,000. Possibly number 1! :), 18 July 2011
Young and vital.

My Rolling Stones. This album has everything. Swagger, pathos, great vocal performances from Chris Robinson - he was never better - are prevalent throughout. The ever-dependable Johnny Colt, stalwart on bass. New Crowes were also in place for this album. Rich Robinson had been joined, and accompanied by Marc Ford on lead guitar. On keyboards, Mr Eddie Harsch teased out an effective and soulful southern lilt. The Crowes were my Stones, in more ways than one.

What were the Stones doing at the time? Well, this was just after the `Flashpoint' record from the `Steel Wheels' tour, so, I imagine they were reclining. Before any smart-alec comes back and says; "Huh! The Stones were MY Stones!", let me say that, at that point, and as a twenty-one year old, you could imagine yourself sinking Wild Turkey at the bar with the Robinson brothers. Mick was on Creme de Menthe by that point, I imagine.

On the cover; we see the band as `junkyard dogs'. Drummer Steve Gorman does his short-haired, whistle-clad, respectable-looking drummer thing, while the rest of the band look like they're just crawled out of 1968. In retrospect, Charlie Watts should probably have sued.

I could break the album down track-by-track, but I'm not going to do that. It should be bought, listened to and appreciated as the complete and life-affirming piece of work that it is. Suffice it to say the highlights are: well, pretty much all of it, depending on how belligerent or bellicose you're feeling.

This album was responsible for me realising that Q magazine really were full of it. They gave it two stars out of five on release. I've never quite believed one of their reviews again. Several years later, they revised their opinion on re-release, giving it four stars. Vindication. Still off the money, in my opinion. A truly great album.

If this album doesn't touch you, then check your pulse. You may have already checked out. THIS was a band at the height of their powers. Stylised, definitely. Derivative, probably, but only in a referential sense. No direct rip-offs I'm aware of

This album kick-started my adult life, and I will always love it. So will you, if you give it a chance.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2013 2:58 PM GMT


Into The Gap
Into The Gap
Price: 9.07

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...a charming friend..., 21 April 2009
This review is from: Into The Gap (Audio CD)
For me, this is the 80's benchmark. It's one of the first albums I bought.

The new Edsel release contains a disc of remixes approximating the bonus mixes you got with the cassette release in '84. Much has been made of the lack of quality of the remastering on the Edsel re-release. That is all worth pointing out, but I'm not here to split hairs.

'Into The Gap', for me, is timeless. Every track is a standout... but, even after 25 years of living with this album, it gets played in its entirety quite regularly, moreso as the years go on...

The album's packaging, back in the day, was overwhelmingly blue... and that's how I still see it. A deep blue Bahamas day. It was recorded at the legendary Compass Point studios in Nassau, and I think you can hear the surrounding natural beauty coming through, translated, via the synths of Tom, Alannah and Joe. In that regard, I think it's true art.

Standout track for me (and we really are splitting hairs now) is 'Storm On The Sea'; I have grown to love this song over the years. The singles are all amazing. An over-used word in my reviews is 'sublime', but it applies here in spades.

It's all wonderful.


Radiator
Radiator
Offered by Leisurezone
Price: 6.67

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SFA's Finest Hour, 21 April 2009
This review is from: Radiator (Audio CD)
What can I say about this album? It's like a good meal really. Diverse and rich, with much on offer for all tastes. I discovered this album a week before a family tragedy, so it's permanently associated with that, but not in a bad way. Put simply, it's great as a whole, and by turns diverse, rich, brilliant, sparky and dreamy. Dreamy's the key really. I'm sure some of my dreams have played out with this as a soundtrack. Psychedelic trance rock. Not as a specific genre, God forbid... It's warm, and you feel loved listening to it.

My favourite section is from 'Bass Tuned To D.E.A.D' to the end of the album. Quirky, eccentric and pure genius. In my top twenty albums, without a shadow of a doubt. Love it.


Bill Bailey - Tinselworm [DVD] [2008]
Bill Bailey - Tinselworm [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Bill Bailey
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: 3.42

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh, Bill..., 3 Jan 2009
Erm... didn't enjoy this. Too political. All very well, but people go to see comedy because they've been painted into a corner by everyday life and they need to laugh. To get George Bush rammed down your throat from the off as well is tantamount to professional suicide IMHO. I love Bill Bailey, but this was pretty poor. Bill, if you want to do politics, then do it on your own time.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 29, 2010 12:17 AM BST


The Mythago Cycle Volume 1: A Ryhope Wood Omnibus: v. 1 (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
The Mythago Cycle Volume 1: A Ryhope Wood Omnibus: v. 1 (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Robert Holdstock
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.77

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime, 14 Mar 2008
An awesome achievement. I truly love these books.

Mythago Wood itself is very much more in the adventure story mold, but Lavondyss is not really a true sequel. Lavondyss is, I think, by far and away the most imaginative book I've ever read. The journey it takes you on is human, humbling, fantastic and mortifying. You live a long journey through the course of the book, and... though you come out of the wood again with answers, I'm willing to bet you'll have more questions. An odyssey of epic human proportions.

The wood will twist your emotions and sensibilities around its periphery, until you are left - exhausted but amazed - at the end. The wood doesn't care for your expectations.

One more thing that I hope is worth sharing. Music can amplify my enjoyment of books. A soundtrack, if you like. For me, with this story it was 'Space Oddity' by David Bowie. When you consider what the wood is, that does seem somehow apt...

To the unknown regions!


Doppelganger
Doppelganger

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ...sublime..., 2 Jan 2008
This review is from: Doppelganger (Audio CD)
Intelligence, style, pithy self-deprecation, flair. The Kid has it all, and uses it on this album with gleeful abandon. Every track on this album is fun and reminds me of being 13 again, which is no bad thing. My favourite cut is 'Survivors', which drifts along with lilting pathos. Long live 'Salsa Sleaze'!


The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon)
by Dan Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.48

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an enjoyable, if flawed, book., 9 Nov 2004
An entertaining, yet irritating read. I've read quite a few books on the subjects that the book poaches from and it seems that the author has tried to cram in as much as possible, picking and choosing the various threads of arcana as he goes. Unwieldy and predictable, yet very readable.
The characters were pretty one-dimensional. Not very well fleshed-out and little use beyond a narrative function. I haven't read any of the author's other work and maybe Langdon's character is better described there.
Having said all that, I managed to read it slowly enough to visualise it all and agree with other reviewers who have mentioned the probable appeal of it as a film. It was obviously written with that in mind, and I think that's a little sad. A book should always be written AS a book.
"Harrison Ford in Harris tweed" anyone?
When looking at the subject matter, what one cannot say is that it's all rubbish. There are so many different strands to the subject. To dismiss them all out of hand is rather blinkered. The only thing I know for certain is that this book IS fiction, yet some of its component pieces may not be and THAT is where the intrigue lies for millions of people.
As a pot-boiling introduction to the subject, this will make people buy more books and encourage vigorous debate. That's good, right? After 2,000 years of taking everything on faith, it is about time more people had an appreciation of the actual history, rather than stories they've been bullied into believing (be they true or otherwise). That probably depends on whether your interest is in 'truth', 'faith', both, or neither. The truth IS out there, Fox.
Until the facts are known indisputably, I suspect all we will have is conjecture. Better that than dogma.
When viewed objectively, and whilst being mindful of it's faults, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to anyone. It was a massively enjoyable Honeymoon read!


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