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Reviews Written by
Martin Fielding (Findon, West Sussex United Kingdom)
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Nine Ghosts
Nine Ghosts
by R. H. Malden
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written and constructed, 15 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: Nine Ghosts (Paperback)
This came up as a recommendation when I was buying Tom Rolt's Sleep No More and it is a similar short collection of stories in the style of M R James - several of the stories have notable similarities to James, particularly those with their settings on the ever spooky coast of East Anglia, however "Stivinghoe Bank" (despite sharing this location) is more innovative than the others and is a terrfic story which alone warrants the purchase of this collection by devotees of the traditional British ghost story.


Rain
Rain
Price: £13.57

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not wasted time, 9 Sept. 2012
This review is from: Rain (Audio CD)
I picked this up in the bargain bin of an indie music store and, despite this unpromising start, this album is vintage Jackson, especially on the slower numbers like the excellent Wasted Time and the more up tempo Invsible Man, Rush Across The Road and A Place In The Rain. The DVD has three of the tracks performed live and a short but interesting interview with Jackson talking about his history and style of writing as well as the album. I really like his classical stuff as well but its good to know that he can still write a great original song or two.


Sleep No More: Railway, Canal & Other Stories of the Supernatural
Sleep No More: Railway, Canal & Other Stories of the Supernatural
by L. T. C. Rolt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rolt's expertise translated into stories in the style of M R James, 2 Sept. 2012
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An introduction by Susan Hill already bodes well for the quality of these stories and they do not disappoint - certain of them are very derivative of James and, like James, there is some repetition of ideas (perhaps because these were written as individual short stories for magazines rather than for publication together?) but they are none the worse for that. It is where he tries something more modern that he really excels, like in the terrific New Corner, where you can almost smell the motor engine oil of the racetrack and one gets a real sense of menace.


Ooh Las Vegas: B Sides, Film Tracks & Sessions
Ooh Las Vegas: B Sides, Film Tracks & Sessions
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £6.72

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sounds more like an album now, 24 Aug. 2012
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I recently reacquainted myself with this collection of songs after a twenty year gap and was pleasantly surprised that what I remembered as something of a mishmash of disconnected songs sounded much more cohesive - back in the day of its original release, Deacon Blue were massive following the desreved success of their masterwork, When The World Knows Your Name - and for good reason - strong songwriting combined with excellent delivery amply demonstrated here by Back Here in Beanoland, the epic Let Your Hearts Be Troubled, Circus Lights and Trampolene. Essential early 90's serious pop music.


Original Album Series
Original Album Series
Price: £9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some perfect pop and what's wrong with that?, 16 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: Original Album Series (Audio CD)
I believe that there is a point with any popular band that the music needs to move up another level to preserve their interest in the long term. For me A-ha never quite managed it. So is this just another set where you should forget the original albums and just get the Greatest Hits package instead? Well no - for two reasons - firstly, the journey documented by their first five albums here is in itself an fascinating one, from the pure pop of their debut album Hunting High and Low through to their really quite introspective fifth album, Memorial Beach - and secondly, because you would miss out on some really intriguing pieces like the Nymanesque 'You'll End Up Crying' from Stay On These Roads and the sparse 'Locust' from Memoral Beach. So buy this and you'll get a much better understanding of the context of some of the 80's greatest pop singles like 'I've Been Losing You' and 'Stay On These Roads'.


Keep An Eye On The Sky
Keep An Eye On The Sky
Offered by johnny8640
Price: £39.99

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not as complete as it could be, 9 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Keep An Eye On The Sky (Audio CD)
Big Star have the dubious distinction of being one of those bands, like The Rembrandts, whose most recognised track (In The Street) is known because of its use as a theme to a hit TV series (That 70's Show). However, this lack of general public awareness has not stopped the band's first three albums appearing in Rolling Stone's Top 500 Greatest Albums and their critical acclaim far outweighs the negligible commercial success the band had in their lifetime especially in comparison to similarly left-field contemporaries like Little Feat and Steely Dan. Along with their citation as influences by many subsequent artists, that lack of commercial success is arguably why Big Star have retained cult status while many other bands have soared commercially only to be deserted by the critics. Having said all this, their work undoubtedly has a timeless brilliance to it which warrants the accolades, especially their first two albums.

This set is a 4 disc collection of Big Star recorded and live material including several unreleased tracks and alternative versions of released material. Working backwards, the fourth disc is a live recording from 1973. The first three discs are allocated sequentially to the first three Big Star albums (a much later 2005 partial reunion album is ignored) but the first two of these consists of a slightly odd selection of the original album cuts combined with substitute tracks where an alternate (and presumably more appealing to the ears of the compilers at least?) mix exists. These are then bookended on each album by alternate versions and contemporary rarities.

So contrary to the impression you might get from the publicity material, this set is missing the original album mixes of a number of tracks. For example, you get three (admittedly all interesting) versions of the terrific Back Of A Car from the second album, but not the album version itself! This substitution policy applies to 8 tracks on the first album and 3 on the second. It doesn't happen at all on the third album disc presumably because there were fewer alternate mixes available? So to get the full story you really need the first two albums as well as this set, whereas surely Rhino could have made this a 5 disc set with everything on it? Accordingly this set only scores 4 out of 5 from me despite the excellence of what is actually included here.


Roxy Music: The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982
Roxy Music: The Complete Studio Recordings 1972-1982
Price: £56.39

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to have this material all in one place!, 6 Aug. 2012
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Roxy's second, third and fourth albums are fundamental recordings to any collection and are combined here with their first formative album and their last four studio albums. The latter are of variable merit, but all produced great hit singles. The bonus double disc includes their first two essential singles, Virginia Plain and Pyjamarama, and their B sides, which Ferry did not allow to be included on the first albums as he didn't want people to pay twice for the same tracks - how times change in the music business! The rest of the bonus material is mainly remixes and live versions of material on the albums.

Contrary to the comments of the previous reviewer, I think that the packaging is excellent with every album made into glossy mini-gatefolds with, where the albums were originally in single sleeves, new internal artwork from the original photo sessions. The gatefolds are really well made and sturdy just like the box into which they fit. Yes, there are no lyrics, but most of the early stuff came without lyrics anyway and we all know where to find lyrics on the web now.

What I miss more here is any kind of supporting literature explaining the context of the albums and the bonus material and that is why this set loses a star for me. Nonetheless a fine keepsake of a magnificent band.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 8, 2012 8:53 AM BST


Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen
Walk Like a Man: Coming of Age with the Music of Bruce Springsteen
by Robert J. Wiersema
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An odd mix of Springsteen commentary and autobiography, 4 Aug. 2012
Alternating between really insightful comment on specific Springsteen albums, tracks and performances and relatively dull autobiography, this is an odd book, made somewhat irritating by the use of footnotes where much of their content could have been included in the text. Part of the problem with the autobiography is that the author is too young (born in 1970) to have really grown up with Bruce's music, so the chosen Springsteen material is less of a soundtrack to his life than a selection of tracks and albums that correlate to certain stages of his life. His commentary on this material is however excellent and I discovered many things I didn't know about the Boss so I have given this four stars as any Springsteen fan would find this of interest.


The Richness of Life: A Stephen Jay Gould Reader
The Richness of Life: A Stephen Jay Gould Reader
by Stephen Jay Gould
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating and educational, 30 July 2012
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I have just given my first copy of this to my 17yo son as it is such a fantastic introduction to the interrelationship between various sciences and, yes, even baseball - a brilliant book.


Waiting For The Floods
Waiting For The Floods
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £21.95

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great guitar album, 26 July 2012
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This review is from: Waiting For The Floods (Audio CD)
Sadly Wikipedia only lists 12 albums on which you can hear the great John McGeoch play - and out of those 12 this is perhaps the brilliant guitarist at his rawest and best, unconfined by having to fit in with the visions of Devoto or Siouxsie or Lydon and instead producing just a massive guitar noise. His influence is wide but is most obviously to be heard in Radiohead and you can hear that particularly on this album, partly because Jobson's singing is often (like Yorke's) indecipherable and the vocals are much more important for the sounds made than for the lyrics. The original CD was very expensive to buy (mine cost more than £30 second hand) but the 2013 reissue is now a must purchase at a third of this.


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