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4.5 out of 5 stars58
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 15 January 2002
Simply put , this is a series of John Betjeman's poems read by himself with musical accompaniment by Jim Parker. The musical style varies from 1920's pastiche on 'Agricultural Caress' to flute and strings on 'Age and Beauty on Beaulieu Water', but very effectively catches the mood of the poems.
The mood of the poetry is varied as well , from the delightfully evocative 'Indoor Games near Newbury' which recalls a nostalgia for the cosy, middle-class England of 'tea on the lawn' , to the wistfulness of 'Business Girls' working in town. - "All too soon the tiny breakfast, trolley-bus and windy street"
If you did not think you were a fan of the spoken word, this collection will change your mind.
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on 12 February 2006
I first made the acquaintance of 'Banana Blush' in the '70s on good old easy scratch vinyl. What a pleasure it is to be re-acquainted with 'Captain Webb' & 'Business Girls' once more,not to mention Clemency,the General's daughter, et al on a more forgiving medium.
Sir John's easy grace with the spoken word and Mr Parker's just right accompaniment make me want to rush straight out and purchase a straw boater and suitably loud blazer, but then I am over Fifty, hurrah! Whether you're a poetry lover or just want something to ease away the stress of a 'bum' day at work get this it's worth any ten stress busting compilation albums and it'll make you smile, honest!
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In the Seventies, Sir John Betjeman recorded four albums, setting some of his works to music. This is the best of the four. It is a joy to hear Betjeman reading his own work. The choices here are glorious - who could have thought the English language could be so deeply satisfying? Parker's accompanying music has often been criticised but at the time, it was praised to the hilt. Indeed, with Betjeman's self-confessed dodgy timing, he actually did a remarkable job. In my opinion, the music enhances the readings and adds to the enjoyment of the overall experience.
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on 20 December 1999
A delightful selection of Betjeman's verse, read with feeling. 'Indoor games near Newbury' and others poems show Betjeman's astute observation, innate good humour, and liking for women. The readings are accompanied by Jim Parker's jaunty tea-shop music, which hits exactly the right note. A favorite with anyone who likes Betjeman, music, or social observation.
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on 2 June 2013
I remember this coming out in the 70's on vinyl while at school and wanted to buy it then but didn't so when I discovered it was available on CD I jumped at the chance to own it.
The combination of Betjemans voice and the accompanying music work wonderfully well together and helps transport you away from all the cares of the day for a while. As always with his poems there is a reflection on his life which makes them the more intimate and enjoyable.It has reawakened my interest and love of his verse
Sir Johns voice and delivery add to its quality.I whole heartedly recommend this to all lovers of poetry young and old.
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on 8 June 2009
Ha! You ask for a review on this CD.
This is an oldie, but as fresh as a daisy to hear. John Betjeman reciting his own verse, in his inimitably expressive English, to Jim Parker's sensitive music.
I know it was not easy at the time to get him to make recordings, so this one is especially valuable.
"Business Girls" and "Agricultural Caress", in particular, are not to be missed.
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on 26 April 2013
If you like poetry, you will love this recording of Sir John Betjeman's readings of his own poems, to the lovely music of Jim Parker, which perfectly matches the style, moods amd period of the poems. The music is beautifully played.
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on 9 February 2014
My Dad loved this and I bought it because of happy memories of growing up. I recognised each track, I even liked it as a youngster, he has such a lovely voice. A number of people have put reviews of not liking the music. I don't understand that. The music makes it even more listenable and each piece is ideally suited to the words. I can recommend this to anyone and everyone. He has put some accents onto his characters, but not over the top. The policeman in the Cadogan Hotel arresting Oscar Wilde is great.
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What an ingenious idea: the lyrical tones of Betjeman supported by Jim Parker's evocative music. In some tracks (Longfellow's visit to Venice for example) Betjeman affects an accent which does not always hold as his natural tones come through but on the whole it's a joy. Working Girls is particularly good with the wistfulness of the poem supported and amplified by the music
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on 19 December 2010
A great time-travel back to a slower life. Indoor games at Newbury is a classic, a hypnotic tune and melancholy lyrics.
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