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Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison
Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison
by John Kruth
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.19

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great subject, useless author, 5 Dec. 2014
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This book is quite good at analysing the writing behind the big early hits from the early 1960's and little else.
From this early period, Roy's first wife Claudette barely gets a mention.

The book is full of annoying misconceptions, for example, everyone knows that Elvis's time in the army in Germany was spent as regular soldier. This is one of the most universally commended time's of Elvis life. Yet, this author mentions twice in a derogatory fashion "while Elvis was entertaining the troops in Germany". If the author has such stupid misconceptions about Roy's contemporaries, how much of the material pertaining to Roy is also inaccurate.

I don't think this book has been originally researched, even with the bits that are OK, most of the analysis of the song writing for example can be extrapolated from comments made by the likes of Bono and Bernie Taupin in DVD's.

The author also refers to Roy's first album as "Blue and Lonely" rather than the correct title of "Lonely and Blue", just how bad is that.

Elvis & Ginger
Elvis & Ginger
by Alden, Ginger
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.60

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A more comforting appraisal of Elvis's last few months, 17 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Elvis & Ginger (Hardcover)
Ginger has waited a very long time to tell her story of her time with Elvis. In many ways Ginger's account provides a more comforting appraisal of Elvis's last few months alive.

According to the accounts by aides, Elvis was depressed, ill tempered and reclusive. They dismiss Ginger as being someone whose presence was barely noticed and non-existent after the end and who wasn't really committed to Elvis.

The is not the case according to Ginger's account.

Ginger provides detailed accounts of how Elvis helped her family manage difficulties caused by adverse weather at the time of her Grandfather's funeral by organising transport in the form of his private jets, helping her family through her parents separation and divorce and other caring acts that don't seem to have been mentioned in accounts from the likes of Joe Esposito who focus on his depression caused by the upcoming bodyguard book and other negativity.

Ginger describes a man who regularly visited her family home, took family on trips to Las Vegas, Palm Springs and Hawaii. A man who in the early hours of the day he died discussed wedding plans with Ginger.

Ginger does confirm a couple of events that tie in with other accounts, for example his confrontation with Charlie Hodge after Charlie had been drinking heavily, his incredibly un-healthy diet, noting in particular a high salt content, large portions and lack of exercise when not on tour. Ginger notes Elvis's use of prescribed medication, but in her account this seems to be limited to what she understood to be sleeping medication for his life long insomnia. Although she wasn't convinced it was always necessary, she doesn't appear to have witnessed anything near as abusive as some others have claimed, with one exception a few weeks before Elvis died which she understood to have been caused by over prescription by a Las Vegas doctor.

In her account Elvis was not as depressed about the book by his ex-bodyguards as others claim. He apparently told Ginger that it was not worth dwelling on too long and that he didn't intend to comment publically.

Ginger spent a lot of time with Elvis. She does admit to not knowing some of his aides that well, as most of her time at Graceland was spent in the upstairs rooms as Elvis himself seemed to be more comfortable away from members of the household at the time. This therefore would explain the difference in other accounts to Ginger's.

Clearly she loved him and he loved her. Ginger has evidence to this effect in the form of personal photo's of notes between them at the time for example.

She also describes Elvis as "still incredibly handsome" and barely mentions his weight at the time, which is often one of the focal points of other accounts from this period.

Partly as a result by being dismissed by everyone else (with the possible exception of Vernon Presley, who himself did not live long in a healthy state after Elvis's death) and partly being protective of her own private life and family (when she finally married many years later), Ginger chose to remain out of the public eye. Linda Thompson in comparison for example has had much more to say over the years.

This book re-addresses her role in Elvis's final few months and also leaves me wondering about possible sensationalism created by the accounts of others with respect to Elvis's outlook on life at the time. Ginger does not describe someone who was fed-up of being "Elvis Presley" and who was ready to through in the towel. In fact she mentions that he told her that "there are going to be some changes around here".

Had Elvis survived that fateful day in 1977, after reading this book, I feel that he may well have done just that in a positive way.

The wider public need to read this book or at least be made aware of it.

Be Careful What You Wish For (The Clifton Chronicles)
Be Careful What You Wish For (The Clifton Chronicles)
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Slow at first but develops into a page turner., 9 Oct. 2014
The first quarter of this book seemed a little slow to me. However you knew something was brewing for Barrington's Shipping with respect to Don Pedro Martinez's hatred of the Barrington and Clifton family, but it was sometime before the actual plot was revealed.

From the second quarter to the end the book became quite a page turner. The main focus is on the issues with the company more than anything else however. Some of the original characters in the series seem to almost be forgotten about. Most notable in this respect is Harry Clifton himself, whose early development in book one is so wonderfully documented.

The book ends with the biggest cliff hanger yet aboard the ocean liner the 'Buckingham'.

But be warned, its not going to be until sometime in 2015 before we will get to find out the outcome when the next book is due.

Best Kept Secret: Book Three of the Clifton Chronicles
Best Kept Secret: Book Three of the Clifton Chronicles
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining enough to hold the readers interest in the series., 12 Aug. 2014
The cliff hanger from the previous "The Sins Of The Father", is swiftly dealt with in the prologue to this the third book in the series, it's almost an anti-climax.

After this the book settles down into telling the story of Harry's developing career as an author, Giles as politician and Emma's progression into the business world.

Along the way there are elements that are again straight out of a 1980's US soap with Giles falling for the scheming Virginia, who pushes him into contesting Elizabeth's will. As Giles mother, Elizabeth sees through Virginia's façade and by the end of the court case so does Giles thanks to a clever trick Elizabeth entrusted Harry with for use in the event that her will was contested.

Things don't run smooth for too long though because Sebastian, the son of Harry and Emma, gets himself into a sticky situation.

So the book has plenty to hold the reader's interest in the evolving Clifton / Barrington family story without being totally top drawer.

The Sins of the Father (The Clifton Chronicles)
The Sins of the Father (The Clifton Chronicles)
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat improbable plot, but what a cliffhanger ending!, 25 July 2014
The second book in the Clifton Chronicles sees Harry adopting the identity of Tom Bradshaw, which seems on the face of it quite probable given the circumstances surrounding his non-marriage to Emma Barrington. Firstly however Tom is an American and secondly it turns out he is wanted for murder, but gets convicted for desertion. So we are starting to go down a path that seems to be improbable.

During the course of World War 2 both Harry and Giles Barrington seem to survive some experiences which virtually leaves them dead.

However this is all sub-plots to the main point - Is Harry the son of Hugo Barrington and the heir to the Barrington empire?

So we go to the House of Lords to make a final judgment. Then comes the cliff hanger, right on the last page. Like the cliff hangers at the end of a season of a 1980's US soap, the reader is left on a knife edge waiting to find out how it will turn out.

So for all the questions surrounding the improbability in the sub-stories, the cliff hanger is master stroke.

Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles)
Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles)
by Jeffrey Archer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story telling which encourages to read the other books in the sequence., 20 July 2014
The first Jeffrey Archer novel I've read and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

Set between World War 1 and 2, the book tells the tale of the early life of Harry Clifton. The son of a dock worker who dies in mysterious circumstances, with a thirst for knowledge and blessed with a good choral voice, Harry finds himself through scholarships mixing with the upper classes and in particular with the Barrington family who were his fathers employers.

The story unfolds by relating events from the point of view of the main characters involved, so each character's viewpoint reveals a little more insight into the events. This is the clever part of the writing, which kept me interested into how things would turn out.

Laminar Flow
Laminar Flow
Price: £14.68

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Seventies musical styles just didn't suit Roy, 24 May 2014
This review is from: Laminar Flow (Audio CD)
There is an obvious seventies sound to this album, which has been languishing at the bottom of my Roy Orbison CD collection without being played for years. It has that funky seventies sound with a hint of disco which puts Roy completely out of place.

It actually doesn't start too badly with "Easy way out" a mid tempo, subtly disco type track. "Love is A cold Wind" is nice enough ballad without managing to stir the emotions in the way that the truly classic Roy Orbison ballads do.

The rot really sets in by the third track "Lay It down", which is an awful attempt at disco. There could have been a bit of an uplift on track 6 with "Movin'", which is a up-tempo song describing the life of a touring singer. However it is spoilt by uncharacteristic language, even though by today's standards its hardly noticeable.

Only more blandness follows with "Poor Baby" with that poor, funky 70's sound coming in. "Warm Spot Hot" has an even more hideous 70's sound to it, again with slightly suggestive lyrics that is so far removed from the Roy Orbison we love it's embarrassing to listen to.

Thankfully there is a slight improvement with "Tears", but again its just too bland for Roy Orbison.

The only song that has any true quality in it is the Elvis tribute "Hound Dog Man", and on which Roy finally sings with sincerity and it is the only song where Roy produced the emotion feeling in a song.

It's an album very much reflective of that period in Roy's career. It makes me angry that music executives, management or whoever couldn't help Roy get a better deal than this and get more out of him as a result.

I thank god that we had the final period of joy with the "Traveling Wilburys" and "Mystery Girl" which saw Roy depart this earth on top form, forever allowing us to over look this, because I love Roy Orbison.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 12, 2014 3:12 PM BST

The Essential
The Essential
Price: £9.09

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality country - just a good ole boy, 8 May 2014
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This review is from: The Essential (MP3 Download)
Waylon Jennings was a very successful country music star in the US who has never actually featured in the UK charts.
Many UK people will have heard however of at least one Waylon Jennings track, this being the theme tune to the 1980's TV series "The Dukes Of Hazard", and many people quite like this as TV theme.

I came to hear Waylon's music via my discovery of Johnny Cash and also from The Highwaymen group and DVD. I was impressed by his performances with The Highwaymen in particular from the DVD of a concert performed by the group in 1990. Most recently for the duet of "I'm Movin' On" on the recent successful, Johnny Cash release "Out Among The Stars".

So "The Essential Waylon Jennings" has allowed my to discover some "new but old" music. I have to say I am impressed.
I'm also surprised that Waylon wasn't more successful as country / pop cross over artist with more international success.

The songs a mixture of ballads and mid-tempo tracks are often seductive and Waylon's voice has that classic Southern drawl to it that fans of the likes of Elvis and Johnny Cash will recognise. Songs like "Amanda" are beautiful. "Are sure Hank did it this way", is a nod against the more traditional "Nashville" country style which sometimes can be termed as being "corny". Waylon doesn't appear to have fallen into this trap.

If you like the style of country performed by the likes of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Elvis (when in country mode), you will like Waylon Jennings.

I can safely say Waylon is the only artist I have ever bought who has never appeared in the UK singles or album charts, but I'm sure this collection will be played quite regularly.

Try it yourself I am sure you will enjoy it.

Country Guitar for Dummies [DVD]
Country Guitar for Dummies [DVD]
Dvd ~ Arlen Roth
Price: £4.96

2.0 out of 5 stars Dissappointing on first impression, 16 April 2014
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I got this with my first guitar to get me started. When I got the guitar I discovered that there were some excellent tutorials on-line specifically for the some of the songs I want to play.

So it was inevitable that this was put to one side.

When I did get this out, I was put disappointed with the fact that there was long droning on about tuning. Let's face, it your a beginner / dummy player you get an electronic tuner. So after the lecture on tuning the lessons start and it seemed to whizz through some basics in half the time it took to drone on about tuning to play what might be considered at least an intermediate version of "Leaving on a jet plane".

At this point I returned to You Tube etc., and have not gone back to this since.

However, it probably does have something to offer as I progress more, so I am likely to come back to this at some point.

So I wouldn't completely rule this DVD out and if and when I do, I will update this review appropriately.

But, for now I am happier with selecting from the varied offerings available on line for free.

Marware Vassen Kindle Cover, Purple  [will only fit Kindle Paperwhite (5th and 6th Generation), Kindle (5th Generation), Kindle Touch (4th Generation) and Kindle (7th Generation)]
Marware Vassen Kindle Cover, Purple [will only fit Kindle Paperwhite (5th and 6th Generation), Kindle (5th Generation), Kindle Touch (4th Generation) and Kindle (7th Generation)]
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect fit, neat cover, 16 April 2014
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I bought this for my wife to go with the Kindle I also bought her.

Practically it does the job perfectly and my wife likes the colour.

There are more expensive covers than this, but I don't see a reason to go for anything more expensive.

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