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Keith Plant "Keith." (Stony Stratford.)

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Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (1989)
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe (1989)
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £9.90

5.0 out of 5 stars The best album Yes never made?, 15 May 2017
Is this the best album that Yes never made? I don't believe that the answer is that simple. In 1988 Jon Anderson, at odds with the direction that Yes were taking and at odds with Trevor Rabin's approach to song writing decided to split the band and get together with some former Yes associates. The results were definitely very interesting. There is no doubt that in some ways this is a natural progression to the kind of music that Yes were making in the mid-70s. But there are differences. Firstly, Chris Squire and his style of bass playing are missing. What you get is instead is the more than competent Tony Levin, who Bill Bruford had played with in King Crimson, who brings his own unique style to the music. The music itself tends towards some interesting pieces, some of which which are longer in nature. But just because they're longer doesn't mean that they are in what some would call the classic Yes style. However, I've never been a believer that Yes (or any musicians associated with Yes) should be tied to one style and songs like 'Brother of mine' and 'Order of the universe' could sit happily on any Yes album (with the additional sound Chris Squire would bring to such songs with his unique bass style).
Yet there are times when one gets the feeling that Anderson and co are quite happy to have lost the Yes association with some worthwhile songs like 'Quartet', 'Teakbois and 'Let's pretend'. As such what we end up with is a very interesting and diverse album, not 100% Yes in style, but still a lot of fun!


The Lark In Morning - The Early Years
The Lark In Morning - The Early Years
Price: £7.72

4.0 out of 5 stars More than hints at what was yet to come!, 7 April 2017
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Along with Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span were to define folk rock at the end of the 60s and early 70s. Not surprisingly it was Ashley Hutchings having just left Fairport Convention who was looking to take folk rock in a different direction and formed Steeleye Span. The line-up on this album was only going to last one album and play hardly / if any gig's, but the first album, 'Hark the village wait' along with Fairport Convention's 'Liege and Lief' has to be one of the defining folk rock album's of all time with nearly every track being an absolute gem. The other albums in this collection are good, but sometimes lack something without the drums to give the music a real kick and that in my opinion robs it one star. That said sometimes it works really brilliantly, just take for example the two versions of 'The blacksmith' as the one on the second album (without the drums) is sublime. That said, even if the group lacked a bit of momentum after the first album, they were to find it again later and certainly this more than hints at what was yet to come!


Close to the Edge: How Yes's Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock
Close to the Edge: How Yes's Masterpiece Defined Prog Rock
by Will Romano
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.88

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An experts account of the making of a masterpiece!, 30 Mar. 2017
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This is a book for a very select audience. But if you're like me and consider that music stop progressing after ''Close to the edge' in 1972 then this is the book for you! As I have always loved the album, I have always been intrigued by the stories about how has put together. Let me just say this book goes into a lot, and I mean lots more detail about the composing and the recording of the album. There is no doubt that Will Romano has really done his homework and is well qualified to write this book. I won't spoil it by telling you how and what type of research he has done, but let's just say he's gone into a lot of detail and explored every avenue to give a real breakdown to the musical construction of the album from the complexities, to when it's deceptively simple, what each musician puts in and sometimes, even more importantly, what they leave out!
As such it is a blow by blow account of the sometimes chaotic way this masterpiece was put together, with comments from all the principal players. And it is this kind of detail, particularly Eddie Offord's considerable input in moulding the various ideas of band members together that makes this such a essential read for anyone seriously interested in this album. The writer puts everything in context with background history of the individuals and the group, which is really important if we are to understand how the album came about and its legacy. Yes would never be able to top this, though certain pieces of music on 'Tales from topographic oceans' come close and 'Awaken' is also close in stature even though it is so different. Some of Romeo's musings about the meanings of the lyrics are I think speculative to say the least. Jon Anderson has always said that he uses words for their sound as much as their meaning although he had copped some inspiration from Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. And also the musings about the cover are interesting but probably should be taken with a pinch of salt. However, this is a must for every serious Yes fan and is the kind of book that will probably require a couple of reads at least to fully enjoy it as there is a lot of detail that needs to be taken in.


Free in Christ: Message of Galatians (Welwyn Commentary)
Free in Christ: Message of Galatians (Welwyn Commentary)
by E. H. Andrews
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful with enough detail., 30 Mar. 2017
This is a very useful commentary, but it's not a typical Welwyn commentary as it tends towards a more detailed approach to the text. In general, the Welwyn commentaries tend to be very good in their overview, although they can be exceptional in detail as well. However, as with his commentary on Hebrews Edgar Andrews takes a more intense approach to the text. This is obviously a benefit, but a bit of a surprise if your used to the usual style of Welwyn Commentaries. Still, this is good for engaging with the text and very helpful in any sermon preparation and preparation for leading Bible study groups. Not bad as well for personal Bible study and reasonably priced.


Galatians
Galatians
by William Hendriksen
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for serious study!, 30 Mar. 2017
This review is from: Galatians (Hardcover)
This is an excellent commentary on Galatians very much in the style that we have come to expect from William Hendriksen. The text is very well dealt with and there's plenty to get you thinking and sparked your thoughts if you are preparing sermons. Any issues to do with the Greek translation are well covered and there is plenty of detail. This is the kind of commentary I tend to look at towards the end of any sermon preparation, because, just like Calvin, it's useful for checking if you've missed anything of any note. It is certainly towards the scholarly end of commentary's and as such is not a great one if you're doing personal Bible study. However, it is a very useful one if you're doing any serious study on the book of Galatians or preparing sermons or group Bible studies.


Calvin's New Testament Commentaries: The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians Vol 11
Calvin's New Testament Commentaries: The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians Vol 11
by John Calvin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.85

5.0 out of 5 stars You won't miss anything with this!, 30 Mar. 2017
This is pretty much what you'd expect from a commentary by John Calvin. Excellent exegesis (a fancy theological way of saying what the passage is all about) and a very thorough approach to the text. It also picks up any difficulties that there may be in translation which is always an asset. One can tell that Galatians as a book was close to Calvin's pastoral heart (the references to Catholicism and its legalisms as a comparison to the text are numerous) and there is much good pastoral application. It's a bit expensive and may be a bit heavy for personal Bible study, but for preaching and preparing for Bible studies is invaluable. I generally use it after other commentaries, just to check I haven't missed anything!


The Platinum Collection
The Platinum Collection
Offered by MediaMerchants
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When they shone bright, they were blinding!, 17 Mar. 2017
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This review is from: The Platinum Collection (Audio CD)
This is a very tricky album to review. There is no doubt, that when Deep Purple were at the top of their game they were untouchable as a heavy metal /rock band! However, that is not the whole story and to some extent this compilation album covers much of their history in telling it. The first disc is interesting. As expected it kicks off with 'Hush' and other songs from the mark 1 line up. The musicianship is excellent, but the group depend more on that as they hadn't really got strong songwriters. So they rely on quite a few cover versions of which Neil Diamond's 'Kentucky woman' really stands out and their cover of 'Hey Joe really doesn't. But towards the end of that disc and on disc two things really kick into top gear and all the old favourites are on show. This of course includes two of the greatest opening tracks to an album of all time in the shape of 'Highway Star' and 'Burn'. The only song that really lets down this part of the collection is the rather mean-spirited 'Mary Long'! But in general both the mark 2 and 3 line-ups show the group in blinding form with Richie Blackmore's unique and astounding guitar work, a rhythm section that had to be one of the most powerful and best around and in Jon Lord one of the best rock organists around!
Disc three has some interesting stuff from the Mark three line up and even includes some of mark four with Tommy Bolin replacing Richie Blackmore. However, towards the end of this disc (after the band had reformed) the band seemed to be running out of ideas with songs that often start with a good riff but rarely go anywhere.
Overall, one gets the impression that Deep Purple were a band that really shone brightly for the first part of the 70s and have rather faded since. That said, let's be thankful for those few years because when they shone bright, they were blinding! Probably worth 3 1/2 stars, but not 4!


Triumph of the King - The Message of 2 Samuel (Welwyn commentaries)
Triumph of the King - The Message of 2 Samuel (Welwyn commentaries)
by Gordon Keddie
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Good all round commentary., 17 Mar. 2017
We are working through 2 Samuel at the moment in our Bible study group at the church I pastor and this has certainly been one of the best commentaries I've used. I've always found Gordon Keddie to be very reliable when preparing sermons and Bible studies as his commentary's are very thorough. As is usual with the Welwyn commentary series this is not aiming to be a very technical commentary. So if you're looking to understand the intricacies of the Hebrew translation look elsewhere! But that said you do get a very good overview and a fairly thorough exposition the text at a very reasonable price. As I've already said, great for Bible study and sermon preparation, but also an excellent commentary for personal Bible study.


Mad Max Trilogy: Mad Max / Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior / Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome [DVD] [2005]
Mad Max Trilogy: Mad Max / Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior / Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome [DVD] [2005]
Dvd ~ Mel Gibson
Offered by Rapid-DVD
Price: £7.94

5.0 out of 5 stars A redemption cycle!, 16 Feb. 2017
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Got these films a while back from Amazon. This package is tremendous value for money. The films themselves are basically a redemption cycle.

We are introduced to Max in the first film as a family man who fears that as a law enforcement officer he is in danger of crossing a line and becoming just like those who are terrorising the highways. When asked why he's thinking of resigning to reply is " I'm starting to enjoy it". In the course of the film we learn that society is breaking down as no one cares any more and when Max's wife and child are killed it drives him to vengeance. People often call this an exploitation film, but rather interestingly does raise a major question. When there is no law what might a moral man to do? There's an economy to the way this film is made (quite literally it cost about half $1 million) but it delivers a simple but well told story with believable characters and some fantastic action sequences.

The second film picks up about 2 1/2 years later after a nuclear war and the introduction tells us that Max is 'a burnt out shell of a man'. It continues the premise of the first films with the gangs terrorising any and all they can find for a tankful of gas. Max falls in with a community that is trying to flee the chaos. At first he only has mercenary motives. He will help them if they supply him with much needed fuel. However, as the film continues and he's rescued by someone he formally captured for his own means, but later set free when those means had been accomplish, Max's humanity, which had been buried deep within him, partially surfaces. He helps the community escape, but he himself is not ready to fully embraces humanity and disappears into the wasteland once again. This is a great action packed story with fantastic stunts.

The third movie is often considered the weakest, but it is in some ways it is the most interesting. Max gets involved with Auntie Entity, the female dictator of Barter town. Once again it is for mercenary motives, he needs a vehicle and fuel to continue his lone existence, she needs someone discretely killed so she can maintain a ruthless grip over her subjects. However, discovering all is not as he's been told Max's humanity surfaces and he breaks his deal and is banished into the wasteland. Here he is discovered on the verge of death by a group of children who are the survivors and descendants of a plane crash who have built up 'Cargo Cult' based on the captain of an expedition that went looking for rescue returning. Mistaking Max for their saviour they beg him to take them back to civilisation. Max's humanity really surfaces as he warns that the civilisation they long for is gone. At best, or worst as Max sees it, they will be swallowed up by Barter town. Here Max starts to take responsibility for them, urging them that what they got is by far what is best for them. Max's surfacing humanity is again confirmed when he is involved in the rescue mission for those who disbelieve his claims and set out looking for civilisation. In the end we have the requisite chase sequence after he has once again crossed swords with Auntie Enmity. Max's humanity is confirmed with a selfless act that enables others to escape and him facing an uncertain, and later a solitary future! The redemption cycle is complete.

These films made Mel Gibson a star and it's easy to see why. He gives the character real humanity (both good and bad) and is effortlessly charismatic even when he has minimal dialogue. Tina Turner makes an appearance in the third film it is really good value for money as the duplicitous Auntie Enmity, a nasty piece of work who may be through Max's sacrifice at the end of the film regains some humanity. Excellent films which remind you what it was like before CGI ruled blockbusters!


Great Is Your Faithfulness (Welwyn Commentaries)
Great Is Your Faithfulness (Welwyn Commentaries)
by Richard Brooks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.87

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Achieves significant depth., 15 Feb. 2017
A useful commentary on the book of Lamentations in that this deals with the book itself rather than just having it tagged onto a commentary on Jeremiah! As such, the text is covered in some detail and as is usual with Welwyn commentaries it is simply explained. I've been using this as we are doing a series of Lamentations in the evening service and it has proved quite profitable. The only reservation I have is one I have had before with other commentaries written by Richard Brooks. And that is what I consider to be the tendency to over read the sufferings of Christ into the text. I have no doubt that there are signposts and allusions to Christ in the text but occasionally I fear that is being forced a bit! After all, Israel was deserving of the Lord's judgement, Christ was the pure sacrifice. However, I would acknowledge that Richard Brooks is more of a scholar and writer than I will ever be and I'm thankful for that to what he has done that the text. I'd recommend this for anyone who is studying the book and wants to achieve sufficient depth in either sermon preparation, Bible study preparation or just individual study. It certainly doesn't strain theological brain cells to much as it does serve up the text in an easily explainable way.


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