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Reviews Written by
S. Kaye-Smith "Sean Kaye-Smith" (Bristol)

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Live At Knebworth
Live At Knebworth
Price: £12.31

4.0 out of 5 stars While Arthur Ashe was beating Jimmy Connors in the Wimbledon final..., 21 Oct. 2016
This review is from: Live At Knebworth (Audio CD)
...this was going on twenty odd miles up the A1(M). Firstly, this is recorded from the crowd, so the sound is not that great. But secondly. and more importantly, it's a record of an historic event: 1975 is considered by many to be the greatest Knebworth rock event - the other acts (not to be heard here of course) being, in this order: Linda Lewis, Roy Harper and Trigger (featuring Chris Spedding on guitar and Bill Bruford on drums), the Steve Miller Band (with Doug 'Cosmos' Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revival on drums) and Pink Floyd, compered by John Peel and with an appearance by Graham Chapman from Monty Python. And in the middle of all this comes Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, like visitors from another planet. There's a trombone (air bass) player - Bruce 'Fossil' Fowler - rather than a conventional bass, Jimmy Carl Black from The Mothers of Invention on drums, and a guy called Ella Guru Davidson, who was, apparently, a big-fan-who'd-been-invited-into-the-band on guitar; the rest are stalwarts: Drumbo/John French and Winged Eel Fingerling/Elliot Ingber.
'The rest is noise...' inevitably, and what a noise, one of the greatest of the C20th (if you like that kind of thing of course). I remember finding it very disorienting - but exciting - that they started with 'Moonlight In Vermont', which had always seemed like the end of something: Side 1 of 'Trout Mask Replica' to be precise, after an odd, ambient outside broadcast. And then the unaccompanied vocal of 'Orange Claw Hammer'...

Here Is Now
Here Is Now
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Avant jazz for the mind and body, 10 Aug. 2016
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This review is from: Here Is Now (MP3 Download)
Described by Wire magazine (in August 2016) as 'a mind bending trip of sonic experimentation mixing avant jazz, krautrock and noise', The Jazzfakers - a four piece from New York - are clearly not for everyone, but if you like inventive, challenging jazz-based compositions flowing with energy and ideas, then this is definitely worth a listen.Since 2008 the have released four albums, and this one was recorded in July 2012, the line-up being: David Tamura - sax, keyboards, guitar/ Robert L. Pepper - violin, electronics/ Steve Orbach - drums/ Raphael Zwyer - bass/electronics, samples. Highly recommended.

Mendip Rambles: 12 Walks Around the Mendip Hills (West Country Somerset)
Mendip Rambles: 12 Walks Around the Mendip Hills (West Country Somerset)
by Peter Wright
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Twelve great walks in a stunning area of the country., 5 April 2016
I have now done all twelve of the walks in this excellent book, and they are all wonderful. They are described in good detail and, occasionally, very poetically, by Peter Wright - only occasionally is there any confusion about the route. The Mendips are a wonderful area and this book is a superb way of getting to know them. Highly recommended.

Berkeley Vale and Severn Shore
Berkeley Vale and Severn Shore
by Lewis Wilshire
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book on a fascinating area., 25 Mar. 2016
A good book about a fascinating and overlooked area. It was originally published in 1954, before the building of the M4, the M5, and the first Severn Bridge (never mind the second). Most of these chapters remain in tact in this 1979 revamp, which itself is, of course, now 37 years old. The text is a shade too chatty and anecdotal at times, but there is lots of interesting historical information and the author admirably conveys his enthusiasm for the area: that fascinating zone bounded by the English shore of the River Severn, Bristol in the South, Gloucester in the North, and the Cotswold escarpment in the East. A very useful volume for anyone who has travelled into England via any of the Severn crossings and wondered about the land bordering the river and the Severn Ridge ahead, and its wonderfully-named promontories like Spaniorum Hill and Almondsbury Tump.

Gallions Reach
Gallions Reach
by H. M. Tomlinson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting novel from 1927, 27 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Gallions Reach (Paperback)
Actually published in 1927, this novel is by a writer who is mostly known for travel writing and journalism. Apparently, he is sometimes likened Joseph Conrad, but this seems to be purely because he often writes about ships and the sea. It's an interesting but not easy read. Mr. Tomlinson was clearly aware of so-called 'stream-of-consciousness' writers like Joyce and Woolf, but is marrying the technique to a London-based - initially - crime novel: the main character commits a serious crime about 40 pages in. If, like me, you like writers who use real locations, right down to street names and individual buildings, you'll like this: Gallions Reach is a section of the River Thames in the Docklands (apparently it's a shopping centre now too). Arguably if he had had a more interesting name - like Ford Madox Ford or Jack Kerouac - Tomlinson might be being studied in universities now, although a literary expert might be able to quickly trash this idea. Like some other 'literary' novelists he does often seem to be trying to impress with his vocabulary. There were also a few times when I genuinely had to ask myself the classic question: what is he on about?
But this an interesting, adventurous book which, like the writer, probably deserves to be much better known.

Chamber Industrial
Chamber Industrial
Price: £16.97

5.0 out of 5 stars but not easy listening., 8 Feb. 2016
This review is from: Chamber Industrial (Audio CD)
Fascinating, but not easy listening.

Genghis Khan [DVD] [1965]
Genghis Khan [DVD] [1965]
Dvd ~ Omar Sharif
Offered by 101Trading
Price: £4.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Photographed by Geoffrey Unsworth, therefore worth watching..., 10 Jan. 2016
This review is from: Genghis Khan [DVD] [1965] (DVD)
...but an otherwise utterly ridiculous film. As for James Mason, it almost disqualifies his otherwise distinguished career:

Ring of Bone: Collected Poems
Ring of Bone: Collected Poems
by Lew Welch
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A fine and interesting American poet with strong links to The ..., 11 Oct. 2015
A fine and interesting American poet with strong links to The Beats (Jack Kerouac based a character in 'Big Sur' on him). Welch went missing on May 23rd 1971 and is presumed dead. This volume presents his collected - rather than selected - poems, and they certainly deserve greater recognition.

by Paul Farley
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Arrogant, envious nonsense., 23 July 2015
This review is from: Edgelands (Paperback)
These authors give the game away on page 9, when they start slagging off other writers. They are clearly profoundly embittered that Iain Sinclair, amongst others, got there way before them. This bitterness terminally spills over on page 29 when they are talking about the M25: 'We mean, actually walk it; not use it as a loose narrative device for some flaneurism.' Shame, the subject matter is interesting and worthy of better treatment.

Live in Europe
Live in Europe
Offered by MOONDANCE LTD (moondancewx)
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the title, this is much more interesting than it sounds., 2 April 2015
This review is from: Live in Europe (Audio CD)
'Live in Europe' sounds like one of those recordings of a band late in their career when there were only one or two original members left and they no longer had a major recording deal. This is FAR more interesting, and although it is a bit of a ragbag, a more accurate title would be 'The 1968 Top Gear Sessions'. Six of the eleven tracks are precisely that, the original line-up of Spooky Tooth from two sessions in March and October 1968, and therefore a must for fans of the band or anyone wishing to discover them. Track seven is the much-anthologized 'Pretty Colours' by Deep Feeling, the legendary Midlands-based band which featured Jim Capaldi, Gordon Jackson, Poli Palmer, Dave Meredith and - hence its inclusion here - Luther Grosvenor, recorded in 1966. The next two tracks are '1999 Reunion Recordings Studio Outtakes', unfinished (apparently) tracks featuring the original Spooky Tooth line-up except for Gary Wright being replaces by Dave Moore; unfinished perhaps, but they sound fine. It all ends with two 'special bonus tracks' which presumable ARE live in Europe: 'Better By You, Better Than Me' and 'Soulful Lady', which are not brilliantly recorded and no dates or locations are given - but it's pretty raw, energetic stuff and worthy of being labeled 'special'.
So, 'Live in Europe'? Not really, and sadly that title might have discouraged some people from investigating a very worthwhile 44 minutes worth.

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