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Split
Split
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Hogs’ finest moment?, 25 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Split (Audio CD)
‘Split’ released in 1971 deservedly remains the Groundhogs’ best-selling and best-known album, which many rock music devotees consider to be the finest example of its genre. The album was essentially Tony McPhee’s creation, themed on his panic attacks the previous year.

Musically inventive, ‘Split’ contains plenty of raunchy rock/blues playing by this excellent 1970s trio, plus some slower-tempo pieces anchored by the capable, energetic rhythm section endow the album with light-and-shade. The ‘Split’ suite has four parts of varying tempo, with the second part the most memorable. The album’s signature piece is probably ‘Cherry Red’, a perennial high-octane concert-performance favourite with McPhee playfully adopting a falsetto voice in imitation of a petulant teenage girl, topped off with a frenzied, high-speed electric guitar solo.

A couple of the remaining songs are just so-so (‘A Year in the Life’, ‘Junkman’) which for me knocks back the album a star, but is partly redeemed by the glorious closer ‘Groundhog’, McPhee’s unabashed tribute to John Lee Hooker. McPhee plays raunchy electric guitar and sings over a simple metronome rhythm in imitation of John Lee’s distinctive style and is virtually indistinguishable from the great Mississippi Delta bluesman.

The 2003 remaster has excellent sound which retains all the warmth of the original analog-recorded vinyl pressing, and features four extra tracks from a 1972 BBC ‘In Concert’ performance to promote the album.


Thank Christ For The Bomb
Thank Christ For The Bomb
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Groundhogs declare peace in 1970, 25 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Most fans of British 1960s/70s rock-blues music know The Groundhogs were John Lee Hooker’s backing band when he toured the UK in 1964. Grounded in John Lee’s raunchy, down-&-dirty Mississippi Delta blues style, band-leader-guitarist Tony McPhee was a devotee and friend of John Lee and himself a highly accomplished bluesman. The slimmed-down Groundhogs trio - with founder-member Pete Cruikshank on bass and the capable Ken Pustelnik on drums – also supported the Rolling Stones on their 1971 tour and achieved modest success in the UK in the 1970s with a series of albums supported by extensive touring and a loyal fan base.

The third album ‘Thank Christ for the Bomb’ in 1970 signalled a departure from raw R&B into more adventurous territory and was the first Hogs album to see significant sales. TCftB is strongly themed on Tony McPhee’s pacifist sentiments and the belief (widely held at the time) that only the existence of the atomic bomb prevented a recurrence of the mass carnage of apocalyptic wars in the early 20th century (“Since that day it’s been stalemate…everyone’s scared to obliterate”) and is loosely in the category of that odd 1960s/70s phenomenon the “concept album”.

TCftB contains a couple of radio-friendly songs like ‘Strange Town’ and ‘Garden’, and some fine inventive playing from this tight, competent trio. The album has a very 1970s feel and maybe has not dated so well as many of its contemporaries, but if you’re a fan of the music of this epoch and you like top-class R&B playing, you will find much here to like.

The 2003 remaster (ASIN: B00009L1OE) contains two extra tracks from a 1970 live Radio 1 session, plus a slightly over-long performance of ‘Soldier’ from a 1974 BBC ‘In Concert’ recording.


The Studio Albums 1968-1979
The Studio Albums 1968-1979
Price: £26.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Bargain package of Joni’s classic album releases up to 1979, 23 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a bargain package if you want Joni’s first 10x album releases in your collection on old fashioned hard-copy CDs. These 10x classics span the years 1968 to 1979, from her debut ‘Song to a Seagull’ to ‘Mingus’.

The package contains no specific information about which mix/remastered editions have been used. It may be that where available, the HDCD masters have been used and where no HDCD is available then those from the first CD masters (as opposed to the original analog recordings for the vinyl) have been used. The sound on every single disk is absolutely first class, and even those from the 1960s sound fresh and bright.

Each of the 10x single CDs is presented in its own good-quality cardboard foldout sleeve with the original vinyl cover-artwork, all contained in a rigid folding-clamshell outer box.

This package is absolutely fantastic value and in every way superb.


By Ben Kite Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944 [Hardcover]
By Ben Kite Stout Hearts: The British and Canadians in Normandy 1944 [Hardcover]
by Ben Kite
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Kite’s excellent work on the Normandy Campaign continues to set the record straight, 19 July 2016
Serving British Army officer Ben Kite has written a deeply engrossing book about how the various components of the British and Canadian forces in the 1944 Normandy campaign (eventually to become 21st Army Group) functioned and worked together as an integrated whole, and exactly how and why they so comprehensively defeated the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS formations ranged against them.

The chapters forensically examine different components of the British and Canadian armies and the other forces (RN & RAF) directly supporting them:

1. Introduction & Campaign Overview

2. Closing with the Enemy – Infantry

3. Neptune’s Trident – Naval Support

4. First in, Last out – Engineers

5. Queen of the Battlefield – Artillery

6. By Air to Battle – Air Power & Air Support

7. Knowledge Gives Strength to Arm – Intelligence & Reconnaisance

8. Penetrating the Fog – Command & Control

9. Faithful in Adversity – Medical Services

10. Grim Summer – Life in Normandy 1944

11. From Mud through Blood to the Green Fields Beyond – Armour

12. Our Greatest Generation (a short, 2-page concluding piece)

Each chapter describes in detail how its subject-force functioned. Chapter 3 examines the different Naval vessels deployed and what role each played in relation to the others; Chapter 5 how the range of artillery pieces of differing calibres were crewed, moved about and sited, co-ordinated and used in conjunction with the other components of the allied forces (with testimonies from several veteran Wehrmmacht officers that in their experience British artillery was the most accurate and effective of any enemy they faced). The story of how the diversity of German sea mine types was dealt with by the minesweepers and the sea lanes cleared is fascinating, likewise how the Royal Engineers executed all manner of complex tasks such as land mine clearance and bridging the Seine under fire. I personally found the chapter on close air support the most hair-raising: how for example forward airstrips were created often under direct enemy fire, all-weather runway surfaces designed & built and how rocket & bomb attacks on German ground forces were planned and executed by Typhoons (51% of all Typhoon pilots operational between 6 June and 1 September were KIA, the highest attrition rate of any allied fighting force).

The narrative is replete with personal accounts from participants made more poignant by their often matter-of-fact descriptions of the death and injury of colleagues around them, and drives home the fact that although the infantry suffered the highest mass casualty rates in the campaign, everyone involved was in continuous danger under fire.

‘Stout Hearts’ joins a growing body of revisionist work which effectively demolishes the myth that the Allied forces were ‘inferior’ to those of the Germans and won in Normandy only by weight of numbers and material. In recent decades writers such as Max Hastings have been responsible for perpetuating this myth. This has puzzled veterans of the campaign, typified by a thoughtful piece from a serving British infantry officer on p80:

“Over the past 20 years it has become the custom for some young military writers to extol the professional ability of the Wehrmacht while decrying that of our own fighting arms, particularly our armour and infantry.

This has perplexed me because it runs contrary to my experience. My 18 Platoon were better soldiers than any we fought. So was D company and the whole 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. …These writers are too young to have taken part in the operations about which they write.

Although they lost, the German soldiers and their families are proud of their exploits, many of which were considerable…it is very much in their own interest to encourage the myth that they were beaten only by numerically superior forces & firepower. In my experience this was not so. In many attacks the prisoners we took outnumbered our attacking force and German units who continued to resist at close quarters were few indeed. Unlike us they rarely fought at night, when they were nervous and unsure of themselves. Where we patrolled extensively, they avoided fighting us…if our positions were reversed I doubt they would have performed better than we did”.

The only minor gripe is that the text might have been better edited and proofread by the publisher, as the author overuses commas while underusing more appropriate punctuation, misuses apostrophes and for example confuses ‘affect’ with ‘effect’. But this is a minor issue in an overall excellent work. No doubt ‘Stout Hearts’ will be widely read in the UK and in Canada by anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding how their armies fought in Normandy, but I would also strongly recommend the book to American readers.


Stout Hearts - The British And Canadians In Normandy 1944
Stout Hearts - The British And Canadians In Normandy 1944
by Ben Kite
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Kite’s excellent work on the Normandy Campaign continues to set the record straight, 19 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Serving British Army officer Ben Kite has written a deeply engrossing book about how the various components of the British and Canadian forces in the 1944 Normandy campaign (eventually to become 21st Army Group) functioned and worked together as an integrated whole, and exactly how and why they so comprehensively defeated the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS formations ranged against them.

The chapters forensically examine different components of the British and Canadian armies and the other forces (RN & RAF) directly supporting them:

1. Introduction & Campaign Overview

2. Closing with the Enemy – Infantry

3. Neptune’s Trident – Naval Support

4. First in, Last out – Engineers

5. Queen of the Battlefield – Artillery

6. By Air to Battle – Air Power & Air Support

7. Knowledge Gives Strength to Arm – Intelligence & Reconnaisance

8. Penetrating the Fog – Command & Control

9. Faithful in Adversity – Medical Services

10. Grim Summer – Life in Normandy 1944

11. From Mud through Blood to the Green Fields Beyond – Armour

12. Our Greatest Generation (a short, 2-page concluding piece)

Each chapter describes in detail how its subject-force functioned. Chapter 3 examines the different Naval vessels deployed and what role each played in relation to the others; Chapter 5 how the range of artillery pieces of differing calibres were crewed, moved about and sited, co-ordinated and used in conjunction with the other components of the allied forces (with testimonies from several veteran Wehrmmacht officers that in their experience British artillery was the most accurate and effective of any enemy they faced). The story of how the diversity of German sea mine types was dealt with by the minesweepers and the sea lanes cleared is fascinating, likewise how the Royal Engineers executed all manner of complex tasks such as land mine clearance and bridging the Seine under fire. I personally found the chapter on close air support the most hair-raising: how for example forward airstrips were created often under direct enemy fire, all-weather runway surfaces designed & built and how rocket & bomb attacks on German ground forces were planned and executed by Typhoons (51% of all Typhoon pilots operational between 6 June and 1 September were KIA, the highest attrition rate of any allied fighting force).

The narrative is replete with personal accounts from participants made more poignant by their often matter-of-fact descriptions of the death and injury of colleagues around them, and drives home the fact that although the infantry suffered the highest mass casualty rates in the campaign, everyone involved was in continuous danger under fire.

‘Stout Hearts’ joins a growing body of revisionist work which effectively demolishes the myth that the Allied forces were ‘inferior’ to those of the Germans and won in Normandy only by weight of numbers and material. In recent decades writers such as Max Hastings have been responsible for perpetuating this myth. This has puzzled veterans of the campaign, typified by a thoughtful piece from a serving British infantry officer on p80:

“Over the past 20 years it has become the custom for some young military writers to extol the professional ability of the Wehrmacht while decrying that of our own fighting arms, particularly our armour and infantry.

This has perplexed me because it runs contrary to my experience. My 18 Platoon were better soldiers than any we fought. So was D company and the whole 4th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry. …These writers are too young to have taken part in the operations about which they write.

Although they lost, the German soldiers and their families are proud of their exploits, many of which were considerable…it is very much in their own interest to encourage the myth that they were beaten only by numerically superior forces & firepower. In my experience this was not so. In many attacks the prisoners we took outnumbered our attacking force and German units who continued to resist at close quarters were few indeed. Unlike us they rarely fought at night, when they were nervous and unsure of themselves. Where we patrolled extensively, they avoided fighting us…if our positions were reversed I doubt they would have performed better than we did”.

The only minor gripe is that the text might have been better edited and proofread by the publisher, as the author overuses commas while underusing more appropriate punctuation, misuses apostrophes and for example confuses ‘affect’ with ‘effect’. But this is a minor issue in an overall excellent work. No doubt ‘Stout Hearts’ will be widely read in the UK and in Canada by anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding how their armies fought in Normandy, but I would also strongly recommend the book to American readers.


Roll With It
Roll With It
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.08

4.0 out of 5 stars Winwood rolls out of the 1980s with a bigger R&B sound, 17 July 2016
This review is from: Roll With It (Audio CD)
‘Roll with It’ was multi-talented Stevie Winwood’s fifth studio album, released in 1989. The sound is very much of its time i.e. the 1980s and sees Stevie return to a punchier, more R&B style.

Winwood brings a lot of energy to the performances with his urgent, soulful singing voice and keyboard work beefed-out by brass and an energetic rhythm section. Production values are first class.

Highlights: the opening title track and follow-on ‘Holding On’, and the slower number ‘Morningside’. The standout track almost everyone agrees is the minor-key number ‘Don’t you know what the night can do?’ with a power which can send a shiver down the spine. It’s worth getting the whole collection just for that song.


Blue
Blue
Offered by uniqueplace-uk
Price: £12.57

5.0 out of 5 stars Blue is the colour of Joni’s 1971 classic, 16 July 2016
This review is from: Blue (Audio CD)
So much has been written about Joni Mitchell’s fourth album released in June 1971 that there is probably nothing new to add. Written and recorded following the breakup of her relationship with the songwriter/performer James Taylor, the songs are almost too deeply personal and honest to listen to so have seldom been covered by other artists, and truth be told because of the vocal range and idiosyncratic singing style, most of them would be well-nigh impossible for any singer other than Joni to perform.

On ‘Blue’ piano, guitar and dulcimer are deployed as song accompaniment, and each instrument is a kind of signature which endows the song with a different flavour. Deepest and most poignant are the piano numbers; the guitar pieces like ‘All I Want’ and ‘Carey’ are more upbeat with a joie-de-vivre jauntiness. Many of the songs were written while travelling in Europe and the album has a uniquely European flavour (“The wind is in from Africa, last night I couldn’t sleep…maybe I’ll go to Amsterdam or maybe I’ll go to Rome…”).

‘Blue’ is recognised as one of those defining moments in the history of popular music which changed everything, raised the bar of what is possible for a solo singer/songwriter to do. It’s a moment of rare genius and the songs don’t seem to age. Some listeners are put off by Joni’s highly individual singing style, but persist and soon you’ll likely come to love and appreciate her impressive vocal power and range and come to love this album and, like millions of others, appreciate why it’s so special.


Ladies Of The Canyon
Ladies Of The Canyon
Price: £5.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joni spreads her wings, 16 July 2016
This review is from: Ladies Of The Canyon (Audio CD)
Released in 1970, ‘Ladies of the Canyon’ sees Joni deepening and widening her songwriting skills to explore love & romance with ‘Willy’ (about Graham Nash) and ‘The Conversation’ and coming-of-age with the catchy ‘The Circle Game’.

Besides personal introspection, she reflects on the Woodstock Generation with ‘Woodstock’; CSNY’s more upbeat interpretation of the song became an international hit single, but Joni’s original is slower, quieter and altogether more poignant. CSNY supply vocal harmonies on many tracks here.

For the first time on LotC Joni used piano as the main accompanying instrument to many songs for a more reflective ‘indoor’ sound, in contrast to the more open-air & upbeat folk-guitar soundscape of songs like ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, the album’s unexpected hit single. This endows the collection with more light-and-shade than evident on the first two albums, and in overall style points the way to her fourth album, the magnificent classic ‘Blue’ where her true genius became obvious.


Zap - Canopy Glue - 2oz Bottle G-PT56 [Toy]
Zap - Canopy Glue - 2oz Bottle G-PT56 [Toy]
Offered by The Bead Shop UK
Price: £5.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Ensure all your interior detailing remains crystal clear, 15 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Modellers will be all too aware that no matter how much care is exercised in attaching transparencies with poly cement or superglue the result can often result in fogging, marring the finished model.

This specialist adhesive solves the problem. It dries crystal clear with a strong bond, completely free of fogging. The only issue is that it’s very runny and takes a couple of hours to dry completely, but the results are worth it. Because you don’t need much for each model, one bottle lasts a long time.


VonShef Premium 3 Piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set with Pouring Spouts, Handles and Non Slip Silicone Base - 1.6L, 3L & 5L Bowls
VonShef Premium 3 Piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set with Pouring Spouts, Handles and Non Slip Silicone Base - 1.6L, 3L & 5L Bowls
Offered by DOMU UK
Price: £37.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality in the kitchen, 10 July 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These mixing bowls are of lightweight stainless steel, strong and of good quality. Being metal they don’t break when dropped, and nest inside each other for easy storage.

The internal measuring graduations are very useful, as are the integral pouring spouts and handles. The moulded silicone bases are a great innovation which keeps the bowls stable on the worktop, and the 5L bowl is particularly useful.

Overall: excellent and great value.


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