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Mrs. P. BROOKSBANK (England)

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The Mothership Returns
The Mothership Returns
Price: £9.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beam me up, 30 Nov. 2012
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I bought Return to Forever's Romantic Warrior LP back in 1976 and it was a revelation. Those were the days when you could ferret around in the local record store and you never knew what you were going to dig up.

When the needle hit the vinyl surprise, surprise no vocals. This was egg and milk to me. At that time I was known as the concept kid and concept albums were all the rage in the 70s. The nickname was due to the fact that I have a penchant for concept albums. Artists that made albums that painted a picture and told a story.

Another one of my aims was to find the ultimate album; that is one that really raised the hairs on the back of my neck and got me out there.

Of course early Genesis, Mike Oldfield, Yes and a clutch of classical music albums were already doing it for me.

So when it came to Romantic Warrior I was blown away, coincidentally the name of the album, the band and artwork sold it to me, I'd never heard a note.

And so to the Mothership. It's safe to say that Return to Forever and Chick Corea's Elektric band have never been far away from my turntable, tape deck and now iPod over the decades.

When I first played the Mothership I must admit I was slightly disappointed, what no Al Di Meola? I've played the whole album through five or six times now at least and I've come to appreciate that this is a different animal. The Mediaeval Overture and the Sorceress both remind me of warm summer days, perhaps France or perhaps in a different time and reality altogether. With the addition of Jean Luc Ponty's violin this just reinforces the feeling. Señor mouse, what a delightful track, whimsical in places, the individual solos blend effortlessly and seamlessly from one section to another. Every track is a masterpiece, a testament to the fine musicianship of these players and of course Chick Corea in particularly. We even get treated to Stanley Clarke's Schooldays. And then there is the track Romantic Warrior itself, listening to this is like coming back to a long lost friend changed with time, still as relevant as ever, still with immense impact but more subtle, delicate and somehow warmer.

Absolutely fantastic, this still really gets me out there with no more than the addition of perhaps an incense stick or a cup of Earl Grey! The hairs are raised on the back of my neck as ever.

I never did find that perfect concept album and like Rudy and Spider Dijon from the Mighty Boosh searching for the new sound, I could have been destined to look forever. I have now come to realise that Return to Forever and perhaps Stomu Yamasta's Go album are as close as I'm ever going to get but thats no bad thing.

And what of the lyrics? Radio DJs and many music fans just don't get it if they haven't got some lyrics to sing along with. I'm not adverse to the lyrics in a song as long as they have something constructive or interesting to say. In this case it really is like Seth MacFarlane says "music is better than words."

If you like fine musicianship with well crafted tunes expertly executed and something to take your mind on an adventure then look no further you have found the holy Grail, the mother load and of course the Mothership.

If that isn't a pretentious enough review for you I don't know what is but I stand by all I've said.

Lonely Planet Goa & Mumbai (Travel Guide)
Lonely Planet Goa & Mumbai (Travel Guide)
by Lonely Planet
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.95

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential as a sun hat, 28 Nov. 2012
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I have about five guide books on Goa and all over ten years out of date. All though much has remained the same much as also changed in that period of time.

For the average and the slightly more intrepid visitor this book has all that you require. It is current, easy to read and very informative. Full of interesting snippets of information for the traveler that has done most of what is on offer before and the essentials for the first time visitor.

It had been six years (too long) since my last visit and I wondered how much motor bike hire had gone up. The guide covers this and sure enough I did a deal and brought it in bang on the nose as suggested in this book.

If you are traveling to Goa then this is essential reference material for your visit, I would not hesitate recommend.

Battle Of The Bulge [DVD] [1965]
Battle Of The Bulge [DVD] [1965]
Dvd ~ Henry Fonda
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Film not Documentary!, 28 Oct. 2012
I first saw this film in the cinema when it came out. It was only years latter that I found out about the historical inaccuracy.

The first thing is that it is a film and has much in common with the early post war films in that it takes the basic theme of an event but much is also fictitious. Then again it dosent purport to be a documentary. The plus side is that you have a ripping yarn half based on truth that is still watchable for all that. There is a statement at the end of the film where it says that the tank battles are "synthesised." I think it would have been better if they had stated that the majority of the film was a synthesis of what took place.

There are a lot of elements of truth in there though and one is that the Germans caught the allies completely by surprise, even though they had intelligence that something was building. Amongst the others is the dropping of the German paratroopers behind enemy lines dressed a Americans. The famous "nuts" reply to the Germans when the Americans where asked to surrender at Bastogne and the shortage of fuel that the Germans endured. I feel that the relationship between Telly Savalas's character and the girl that he goes into business with is still poignant for all its sixties kitsch. I also feel that although there is no private Ryan type violence the massacre scene was handled well for its time. You have to remember, things weren't depicted with the same realism as they are today.

The most annoying errors for me is the lack of snow, the landscape in no way represents the Ardennes and the fact that the allied airforce hammered the Germans after the sky cleared and it was not totally about fuel as the end of the film implies.

I much prefer this film to the modern "Pearl Harbour" for all its scope and CGI the acting was deplorable and a good opportunity wasted. As I said The Battle of the Bulge is not a documentary and keeping that in mind the acting is passable and until some one gives this battle the treatment it deserves then this is the best that we will get. Accepting the Band of Brothers of course.

Genesis Revisited II
Genesis Revisited II

44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twilights Last Gleaming?, 24 Oct. 2012
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I count my self lucky to have seen Genesis when Steve Hackett was still with them. Like many who saw them in the early seventies the early music is the material I like best and will always have a special place in my heart. Thats not to say that some of the latter songs where not without merit but that was a different animal.

Its almost pointless reviewing the songs one by one here as most will know them and have their favourites.

My favourite song isn't here though "Cinema Show" but I will let that pass as we have got "Can Utility and the Coast Liners" and "Dancing with the Moonlight Knight" as well as sections from the often overlooked "Wind and Wuthering."

This reworking of old favourites is superbly executed and has a clean brighter sound in places. My only real gripe as others have mentioned is that some of the vocalists don't "gel" very well, particularly on "Ripples." Its not that it is bad its just that the vocals are a long way from what you expect. It could grow.

So, why have I given it five stars then. Its a valiant effort and who am I really to criticise the magnificent music of such a wonderful guitarist. Not forgetting such magnificent musicians that played on the original and here on the remake. Truly "Twilights Last Gleaming.' As Phil Collins sang on "Driving the Last Spike," we will never see the likes of them again.

To the odd younger person that may stroll in here by chance I would say buy this if you want a master class in melodic, powerful and emotive prog rock. These guys never went in one direction they where omnipresent!

I will say this though, the reworking of a Tower Struck Down is almost "King Crimson" and if my memory serves me right not actually a Genesis track. Neither is Shadow of the Hierophant but lets not let a few facts get in the way of a good album.

If I can I will be there to see this live next year. Thanks Steve for such a great album.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 3, 2015 12:45 PM GMT

Music Is Better Than Words
Music Is Better Than Words
Price: £5.49

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freaking Great, 28 Aug. 2012
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I heard the "Steve Wright in the Afternoon" interview with Seth MacFarlane and they played a couple of tracks, I was instantly hooked. A flawless production of 30's 40's and 50's songs that are mostly unknown now. I've always loved Jazz and the big band sound; this hits the spot and more. The "Family Guy" "Road to" specials have been some of my favourite episodes, spoofs of the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby films, this is a logical extension to these.

Seth's voice is immaculate and at times you would think Sinatra is reborn. This is not surprising, as he has received voice training from two people who worked with Frank Sinatra.

I grew up with this kind of music and it comes from a more innocent time of elegance that has sadly long gone. Paradoxically really, as the "Family Guy" shows can be quite dark and acid. It's a refreshing change from half naked harpies shouting, or vulgar posturing young men.

The tunes are catchy up tempo or laid back and romantic in spades. The production is immaculate and I have read that they recorded using an old 1930's mike and analogue tapes to get the right sound.

I love every track but if I had to pick a couple of stand outs I would say " Two Sleepy People," a duet with Norah Jones and the amazingly haunting "Laura."

If well crafted, well sung big band sound is your thing then this will not disappoint. Oh, put it on late at night with the lights turned down and a bottle of wine (preferably not alone) and if you don't melt then you must be made of stone! Seth MacFarlane has been quoted as saying he didn't care if it makes a dime its just something he wanted to do. I hope it makes him a fortune.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2012 4:14 PM BST

The Ghost Of You
The Ghost Of You
Price: £0.69

5.0 out of 5 stars No need for an exorcism here, 16 Aug. 2012
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This review is from: The Ghost Of You (MP3 Download)
This for me is a great crossover track. I.E. it should appeal to most lovers of great rock music. The video that goes with this track is a classic, based on a G.I. dance around 1944 and a Private Ryan style beach landing. What really sets it apart is the pure angst that it conveys, you can really feel for him even though its only a song. Something rare nowadays.

Since original reviewing this track I have realised that its the string version and not the original by My Chemical Romance. As I own both it was a simple mistake to make, for me anyway. I still stand by my review though and would say that this version has all the power of the original.

The Impressionists in Context
The Impressionists in Context
by Robert Katz
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Don't drop it on your toes, 16 Aug. 2012
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I have had an interest in the Impressionist movement as long as I can remember. In fact before I even knew what it was. Who could ignore those wonderful paintings that would grace the walls of doctors surgeries and schools up and down the land? I would say it would be late teens or early 20s before I really sat up and took notice. I have several books on individual artists and of course Monet tops the list. The light or the capture of light and the rendering of such fabulous landscapes and seascapes captivated me, for I have seen similar sites in reality during my childhood visits to the West Country. The way light sets the mood depending on the time of day, time of year and clouds can be very emotive. Of course it is not just all about landscape but people also, Monet's daughter in his garden and people gathered in relaxation by the river. This book serves more than just an overview of the Impressionist movement, it goes into great detail of the various impressionist artists and how many of them interacted with each other. Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste, Renoir, Alfred Sisley and more. Some where famous and rich in their own lifetimes and some where less fortunate. This book also contains some of the great works and many more less often if rarely seen. It is a fascinating journey for anyone who has a love for the Impressionist movement. I have been fortunate enough to visit some of the sites of the paintings first hand. In particularly Van Gough and Monet. Some have changed beyond all recognition and some are virtually as painted all those years ago. I have also great love of France and they encapsulate a time that although long gone can be glimpsed here and there to this day. I would say that anybody who wants to study the Impressionists should buy a copy of this book and there is enough hear to satisfy the person of general interest and those that seek to understand the foundation and drive that was the impressionist movement in the 1800's and early 1900's. Its both a visual feast and a mine of information, essential for lovers of great art.

Calling All Stations
Calling All Stations
Price: £6.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars End of the Line, 19 July 2012
I remember reading at the time of this CD coming out that some fans where hoping with the departure of Phil Collins, Genesis would return to a less commercial sound, with long instrumental pieces. I was one of them and boy where we disappointed. I even remember one of the remaining Genesis members stating that this was not going to happen. Anyway I bought "Calling all Stations" and was surprised to find that it had a strange, stark appeal of its own. I liked Ray Wilson's vocals and although there where no epic pieces in the mould of the old genesis style, it had a weird other worldly feel to it. I would go further than this, if it hadn't been marketed as a Genesis CD it may have been looked on more favourably. So, not such a diabolical album as we thought it would be So what went wrong? I went to the "Calling all Stations" tour and it was diabolical. Ray Wilson delivered but not only had Phil Collins departed he took Chester Thomson and Daryl Stuemer with him to go on a tour of his own. What replaced them was a drummer from Israel that may have been an excellent player but sounded as much like Genesis as a pig looks like a unicorn. I don't recall who the guitarist was but just when you where on the edge of your seat waiting for one of those inimitable solos form the back catalogue you got a solo from who knows where. He could have been playing a ukulele for what good it was. I had seen Genesis many times over the years and this was diabolical, by far the worst concert I have ever been to by any band. As we all left the venue many people where shaking there heads, and they where stunned with the incomprehensibility of it all. I felt sorry for Ray Wilson. A tragic end to a band that had the ability to present musical landscapes of truly epic proportions. In its own right this CD is not half bad.

War Of The Worlds (2 Disc Special Edition) [2005] [DVD]
War Of The Worlds (2 Disc Special Edition) [2005] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tom Cruise
Price: £1.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Ulla!, 17 July 2012
The War of the Worlds is probably my favourite book, I first read it when I was at school in the 1960's and could not put it down. I have always liked the turn of the century setting in Victorian England and remember getting an old map and looking at the places where the action was supposed to take place. I latter came to appreciate the various plot devices. I like this story so much that I was even willing to forgive the change of location for the 1950"s movie and although the Martians didn't walk they where still other worldly. The Tom Cruise film is not all bad and I have read that Steven Spielberg read this book at college and he wanted to do it justice. With the terrorist attack on the twin towers he didn't want to show scenes of the martians destroying america. This is fully understandable, but we don't see half as much of the martians as we should and this for me and many others is a major drawback with the film. Distance, supposed news reel shots are no substitute to seeing the colossal fighting machine striding across the land. Also they should have come to earth as in the book, its a film its not real, so why worry about people saying we would have known if there really was martians living on Mars. There is much to like about this film though, the suspense builds and the noises that the machines make add to this. Watch this film for what it is' a reasonably good modern rendition of the H G Wells classic. I have just bought a facsimile of the original book with illustrations published in 1906, superb. It encapsulate the strange otherworldliness of the Martians that is hard to recreate in a world that has seen many science fiction films. I suppose until someone makes a good quality film thats close to the original than that will have to do. The Lord of the rings was almost true to the book, why not the War of the Worlds?
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2012 5:05 AM BST

Journey To The Centre Of The Earth
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to the Centre of Prog Rock, 23 Mar. 2012
Back in the very early seventies a friend lent me some Bowie Albums, Tubular Bells and the Yes songs triple album. I was into the Beatles mainly but also liked other bands such as Family and Black Sabbath. I liked all of the albums that my friend had loaned me but for different reasons. One section of music I played over and over again. Rick Wakeman's excerpt for the six wife's of Henry the 8th. Naturally I bought it and I was blown away. Ok, the album didn't have any lyrics so really Rick could have called the tracks by any name although he claimed that they where his interpretation of their character. This wetted my appetite, so it was with some excitement that I clutched my copy of 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth" as I went home on the bus. It didn't fail me then and it still dosent after nearly forty years. From those opening dramatic strains to the narration and the telling of the story through Ashley Holts vocals it is a wonderful enchanting tale, a true journey. The rousing sections are juxtaposed by Ricks melodic keyboards. Yes there are some dodgy notes here and there and occasionally the vocals are a little out but I knew this at the time and it adds to the live feel, taking nothing away from the experience. The personalisation of the characters adds to the whole experience and you care about what happens to them in away that is unfortunately not present in the 1999 CD "Return to the Centre of the Earth." I was not fortunate enough to see the original production of Journey but I have seen Rick Wakeman perform many times and have heard various other renditions of it. Always nostalgic and always moving. There are a couple of negative reviews on here, pay no heed. Thrill to the battle between the Pterodactyl and Ichthyosaurs, marvel at the chambers lit by crystals and wonder as you are spat out via Mount Etna back from your Journey to the Centre of the Earth. I am going to see Rick Wakeman at Carnglaze Caverns in Cornwall this Saturday, apt really. I hope he plays an Excerpt from Journey.

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