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Mr. Richard J. Carter "urbanecowboy_uk"
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The Boy Who Fell To Earth
The Boy Who Fell To Earth
by Kathy Lette
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Merlin .. the new normal!, 14 April 2013
A most enjoyable piece of non fiction setting out the inner musings of a medicore mother who frets about the future of her unusual son, Merlin, who has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome which comes highly recommended. Recurrent questions/ themes to be found 'under the covers' of this book by Kathy Lette are: What makes us human? What is normal? What place is there in society who are 'labelled' as being different? Should we see someone as handicapped or celebrate their differences to which society should adapt and accept? The author uses humour such as "What do you get if you cross a group of feminists with an Oxo cube? A laughing stock!", stunning punning 'Nothing Risqued, Nothing Gained' and quirky dialogue (mostly from Merlin) to keep us interested and caring about the characters and what will happen to them.

The plot taken at face value sounds conventional. A shallow emotionally immature man (Jeremy) cannot accept he he has fathered a genetically imperfect child so leaves wife (Lucy) for younger more attractive model to sow his seeds Embittered wife becomes increasingly cynical about men and takes on the all consuming role of being a single parent while juggling her love life, work and keeping a home. Throw into the mix her son (Merlin), a young man diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome a condition that is characterised by difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior the book fast becomes unconventional and the comic situations come thick and fast. So what is a girl to do? Renew her relationship with the moneyed, successful and repentent Jeremy or move on to new beau, Archie, at face value an outsider but who has his own important story to tell?

And while there is much rubustious action between the sheets as the Lucy tries a succession of new partners and potential fathers for Merlin, this book is more about the mother's experiences with growing up with Merlin, meeting new people and learning about different ways of living and thinking by normal people. The author invites the reader to question so called normal behaviour and that this does not necessarily equate to good behaviour or a good thing and this in turn leads the key character to question how to let her son grow up and become an adult living a normal life in the modern world. What I like about this book is it is funny in parts, wise and thoughtful. Whilst the mothers undying devotion and love for Merlin shines through he is no angel. Merlin has tantrums, he is difficult and frustrating (like any other teenager), with growing pains as he faces adolescence and a world who neither cares or understands him. We come to realise that Merlin also has desires and dreams and seeks to find his identify and role (like any other teenager).

The book sets you thinking that when you strip away social customs and coventions we are all indidviduals and in a world that increasingly seeks to put people in boxes and reduce them to a set of labels this somehow reduces and dimishes them of their humanity, indviduality and complexity. The world as seen through the eyes of someone with Aspergers is the device used to turn conventional norms on their head. By asking straight direct questions Merlin, in a naive but knowing way, exposes the hypocrisy and twisted logic apparently normal people live by and the pitfalls and traps we fall into through habit and fear of change. This in turn promotes a period of introspection of the lead character and self-learning and increasing sensitivity to others results.

And if this all sounds a little worthy and preachy, its not. The author is at pains not to lecture or to give definite answers or solutions. This is more an enoyable romp through a life worth living in spite of all the challenges it brings and inspires us all never to give up. Stand Up comic Kathy Lette and be counted, I shall be reading more of your output on the basis of this read.


50 Years Of Hits [Us Import]
50 Years Of Hits [Us Import]
Offered by Newtownvideo_EU
Price: £23.89

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHOSE GONNA FILL HIS SHOES, 14 July 2008
Jones has charted more singles than any artist in any format of music and while he may not have had the commercial success of Strait, Arnold, Haggard or Cash he retains an almost iconic status with musicians and fans alike. This compliation, taking the best single from each year since he began recording in 1955, charts his career to 2005.

Jones trademark note-bending vocal style (borrowed from Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams but made his own) is stamped on every track. For me no-one sings 'The Race is On' better than Jones, and my personal favourite 'He Stopped Loving Her Today' is an extraordinary song about a man betrayed by his lover. Despite her actions, he never stopped loving her the rest of his life - the day he stopped loving her turned out to be the day he died. His early stuff such as 'Why Baby Why', 'White Lightning', stands the test of time and there are too many highlights on this 3-disc album to mention. Check out the duets with various greats of the country scene such as Wynette, Parton and Haggard. The more recent years see a slight dip in form though '50,000 names' is a wonderfully sensitive song about the loss of life and the pain their families endure to this day.

When Jones sings about 'Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes', about the greats who have sung at the Grand Ole Opry it is clear that the boots he will leave behind will be big and hard to fill. In short, this is a must for those collectors who want an insight into one of the giants of country music, without whom the picture would not be complete.


GEORGE STRAIT / STRAIT HITS
GEORGE STRAIT / STRAIT HITS
Price: £12.61

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good news ... Bad News, 2 Mar. 2007
25 tracks of pure genius. The Good News, Bad news track features a duet with LeAnn Womack. All the favourites are here, 'She Leaves You With A Smile' being mine - how many of us blokes are lucky enough to know a woman like the one Strait tells us about!

A fine exponent of the storytelling genre, Strait's Seashores of Mexico recounts a desperado's love for a women in an otherwise desolate world 'Cause she loved the gringo, my red hair and lingo, That's all I needed to know, ha, ha. Yeah, I found what I needed on the seashores of old Mexico.'

'I Hate Everything' explains the emotional state of a man who can't get over his wife leaving him and can't move on so he stays at the bar to drink. On hearing his lifestory, a fellow drinker is forced to rethink his own problems and acts swiftly 'I said babe I'm coming home we are going to work this out. I paid for his drinks and I told him thanks

Thanks for everything'.

So there was the good news, the bad news is that the CD had to end sometime. Will keep you returning to it time and time again.


The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow
The Very Best Of Sheryl Crow
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £3.19

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyday Is A Winding Road, 22 Sept. 2004
Sheryl Crow defies pigeonholing into any one musical genre - pop, rock and even country (check out the collaborations with Kid Rock and the track 'The first cut is the deepest'.
'All I Wanna Do' was a quirky debut seemed the perfect companion to echo Cyndi Laupers 'Girls Just Wanna Have fun' mantra but would the novelty of this new artiste wear off. Hell no!
The radio friendly 'Soak Up The Sun', my personal favorite 'Everyday Is A Winding Road' and the ballsy 'If It Makes You Happy' show the versatility and vocal range that you will rock to. 'Run, Baby, Run'. and a 'Change Would Do You Good' are pop fodder while 'There Goes The Neighborhood' sounds like one party I'd like to be at!
As fresh as ever, this superior sounding collection of hits hints at possibilities, yearnings and is darn good fun to boot.


Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits
Price: £3.72

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EVERYTHINGS CHANGED, 20 Sept. 2004
This review is from: Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
A timely reminder of where Lonestar came from to where they are today. Early hits 'No News' (about a woman long gone), 'You walked in' (with legs up to your neck - a riff on the supermodel world) and 'Come Cryin' to me retain a certain rough and ready charm.
But it is really from 'Everythings Changed' onwards that they became a stellar act they are today with their biggest #1 to date, 'Amazed' which stayed on top for 7 weeks and enjoyed crossover success in the pop charts. This spawned samely sounding follow-up hits 'Smile' and 'What About Now' which were successful in almost equal measure.
So where are the band now, once known as Texasty sensibly revised their name and vocal lead line up to become one of the most accomplished and smoothest crooners the Country Music business. Later hits 'I'm Already There', 'Not a Day Goes By' and 'My Front Porch Looking In' celebrate the family unit and one senses that the band are maturing in their outlook and music.
The two covers Mark Cohens 'Walking in Memphis' and ZZZ Tops 'Gimme All Your Loving' are both surprisingly lacklustre. In particular lead singer Ritchie McDonalds whooping before he sings the first verse on the latter does not encapsulate what is essentially a deliciously dirty and emotionally charged song.
They would've been better advised to stick to what they are good at - songs with strong virtues extolling simple pleasures. Some things in life it seems really don't change - this is really a must have to add to your CD collection if you are fans of their music!


Latest Greatest Straitest Hits
Latest Greatest Straitest Hits
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £9.25

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET CARRIED AWAY, 1 Jan. 2004
George Strait is a legend in Country Music but even diehard fans were beginning to wonder if he'd lost his midas touch, in fact in the early 1990's he was beginning to look and sound like his trademark old hat. 'Blue Clear Sky' saw a return to form and this compilation includes tracks from studio albums Lead On (1994), Blue Clear Sky (1996), Carrying Your Love With Me (1997) and One Step At A Time (1998) - two of which won the album of the year award at the prestiguous Country Music Association (CMA) Awards.
The album's new tracks 'The Best Day' went to #1 in the Billboard Country Chart and 'Murder on Music Row' won a CMA award. The latter cut was a tongue in cheek sideswipe at the record industry with the killer line 'someone killed country music, ripped out its heart and soul, they committed murder down on music row'.
Get 'Carried Away' by the stories of stubborn old cowboys and love grown cold (in 'I Can Still Make Cheyenne', 'Round About Way'). Relive those inspirational anthems on never giving up for example 'True' and 'One Night At A Time' and being in love such as ('Adalida', 'We Really Shouldn't Be Doing This'). By buying this album for a country (& WESTERN) type music fan you can be sure they will have a 'Best Day'. Magic.


Country Classics 80's
Country Classics 80's
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars CAPITOL: COUNTRY MUSIC CITY, 10 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Country Classics 80's (Audio CD)
On the cover sleeve, a black & white photo of 'Dickson Hatchery' prevails; the sleeve notes chart the story of country music at the record label, Capitol through the 1980's decade.
By 1980 country music was fashionable and enjoying its biggest boom period ever. 'Urban Cowboy', starring John Travolta, had given a wider audience a chance to see what they had been missing. Like all fads, this was soon to pass ... however , country music was never the same again as big business practices in producing and making records finally took over from where a small cotytage industry had once ruled. Moreover, the lines between country and other music genres were blurred as 'crossover' hits of country-pop became more and more common.
To paraphrase the words of T Graham Brown this album 'Tells It How It Used To Be' and is a treasure trove of tracks. Not only does it feature established artists such as Don WILLIAMS, Tanya TUCKER, SAWYER BROWN, SUZY BOGGUSS and Glen CAMPBELL also listen-out for Mel McDANIEL 'Babys Got Her Blue Jeans On' and 'Louisiana Saturday Night'; Dan SEALS 'Addicted' and 'Meet Me In Montana'.
Special mentions must go to the brilliant 'I Didn't (Every Chance I Had)' by Johnny RODERIGUEZ, 'Could I Have This Dance' by Anne MURRAY and 'Uncondional Love' by NEW GRASS REVIVAL. Most memorable lyric must go to Billy 'Crash' Craddock in '(You Say That You're) A Real Cowboy, 'A real cowboy don't care how he fills out his jeans he just cares how he feels in his heart' - sure tell that one to the ladies!
Little were Capitol Records to know that when a new artist, Garth BROOKS topped the charts with 'If Tomorrow Never Comes' it had the distiction of being the last number one record of the 1980's, the phenomenal success that was to follow in the 1990's.
For those of you who are country officionados I can assure you that this selection won't make you believe that you're 'Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)'.
On the contrary, this album demonstrates how traditional hardcore country can sit quite happily with more contemporary pop tastes. Stetsons off to Garth BROOKS for stealing the show, but what a great introduction to 1980's country music, a blend of pop, syntheisisers, fiddles for FF - feelgood factor!


The Most Awesome Line Dancing Album - 2
The Most Awesome Line Dancing Album - 2
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.16

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A KICKIN MIX, 10 Mar. 2003
If I were to try and design a CD-cover for a Line-Dance album I couldn't have gotten more cliched then this one. Two lines, one of cowboys (with hands in pockets, boots and hats on!); the other of cowgirls, face one another and are in the middle of a dance on a red and white striped floor. The white stars on a blue coloured two is all that stands between the two lines - above it lies the caption 'The Most Awesome Line Dancing Album 2'. I feel like renaming this the 'The Most Awful Designed Line Dancing Album Cover' - especially as not all of the artists featured are American!
On reading the playlist I was only familiar with artists such as Tanya Tucker, Chris Ledoux, John Berry, George Ducas and Billy Dean and therefore wasn't expecting too much. How wrong I was. So stomp what you're doing and put this on your CD machine and just line-dance the night away!
Gems in amongst this lot are 'Fias Do Do' as Charlie Daniels asks his girl to 'Stop what she's doing and come down to the Fias Do Do'; 'Love On Arrival' where Dan Seals is confused over the meaning of LOA in a girlfriends letter, having got TLC, TGIF etc .. cute; 'I Feel Bad' begins with the cue 'You're listening to good music recorded in the Country & Western style here on Capitol records ' before lauching into the immortal line 'I feel bad, that I don't feel worse'; Chris Ledoux's powerful 'Cadillac Ranch', Emillio's exuberant 'Life Is Good' and George Ducas 'Stay The Night' (for me the best track on the album).
Strong support with Eddi Rabbit's jaunty 'Two Dollar's In The Jukebox', two Lee Kernaghan numbers, a testosterone filled reworking of 'Wild Side Of Life' and 'Girls Night Out'. This compilation is sure to keep your foot tappin' and lives up to the hyped-billing 'awesome'.


BR5-49
BR5-49
Price: £5.92

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NO WAY YOU'LL BE GETTING TIRED OF ME, 10 Mar. 2003
This review is from: BR5-49 (Audio CD)
Having heard a number of their chart hits I was lured into to giving earplay to some of their work.
BR5-49 comprise Gary Bennet and/ or Chuck Mead (on lead vocals), Don Herron (guitar), Smilin' Jay McDowell (upright bass) and Hawk Shaw Wilson (drums). The band are in a kinda' self-styled time-warp ... operating in a groovy/ funky 1950's niche while at the same time remaining very fresh! First impressions are that they are a very slick outfit (and I'm not just referring to the bands penchant for dessing in snappy suits and wearing greased hair!) and look destined to achieve quite a following.
From the above it will come as no surprise that the cover of BR5-49s self-titled albumn sports an authentic US telephone straight out of the fifties. This will surely ring a bell with the older generation. Those of you who are familiar with three hits that catapulted the group to fame -'Cherokee Boogie', 'Honky Tonk Song' and 'Little Ramona' will be glad to learn that the rest of the albumn promises much of the same. However, there are moments when the thought provoking lyrics can be a touch whimsical.
For me the outstanding track is 'Lifetime To Prove', a song rueing a life of missed opportunities and culminating in the line 'I've got one foot in the door ... I just want one more'. 'Little Ramona' is another favourite which relates how a girls passion for punk complete with 'a mowhawk hairdo' has now turned to country music ... is it any wonder shes 'gone hillbilly nuts!' Other stong lyrical numbers include the first track, with the line 'Sometimes you've gotta do something even if it's wrong'; the bouncy but clever lyrical ogle at some cute-looking country girl in 'I Ain't Never', and the bitter-sweet analogy of falling outta love to the changing of a season in 'Are You Gettin' Tired Of Me' - on the stength of this offering no way!


Country Gold
Country Gold
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £2.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GOLD BLEND, 10 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Country Gold (Audio CD)
Traditional albumn cover of a red 'pick-up' truck driven by a smilin' cowboy dude. Naturally there is also a cowgirl present; hangin' on the outside of the truck for dear life with one hand, and her hat with the other .. and presumably to his every word!
Disc1:
In the words of NELSON, ain't it funny how time slips away ... but more of him later. This CD memorably features ORBISONs melanconic 'Blue Bayou' and CASH's fun but over trumpted 'Ring of Fire'. The eighth track arrives all too soon, forcing the listener to speculate as to exactly what does go on behind RICH's closed doors. From NELSON's number onwards the albumn takes a strangely retrospective mood and the listener is in danger of ODing on a wave of sentimentality ... however the reworking of PARTON's seminal country song will rudely awake your indignation!
Disc 2: This CD gets off to a strong start with CYRUS's nineties crossover hit 'Achy Breaky Heart'. JENNINGS quirky number evokes nostalgic memories of the early eighties TV hit series 'Dukes of Hazzard' .. recall Boss Hogg, car chases and those good ol' boys. However it requires PRIDE and REEVES cynical cuts lifts the listener who is in danger of a melanconic meltdown. WILLIAMS's agreeably sad reflections over Californian wine gives much needed impetus after a couple of indifferent numbers. Remaining highlights are HARRIS doing her stuff and DAVIS's witticisms. Who can forget 'Why does my heart go on beating ... don't you know its the end of the world cos you don't love me anymore?' But it is PRESLEY, as always, who steals the show with his tender dolcit tones to round off the albumn.
Overall, both CDs are very listenable. Clearly pitched at the older traditional country fans while, at the same time, managing to give something for everyone - by interpersing some of the some very familiar numbers with contempary country classics.


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