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Reviews Written by
Geoffrey Millar (Brunswick Australia)

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Wood and Garden Notes and Thoughts, Practical and Critical, of a Working Amateur
Wood and Garden Notes and Thoughts, Practical and Critical, of a Working Amateur
by Gertrude Jekyll
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2.0 out of 5 stars which makes this a dull read - and it should be interesting, 26 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
While the book has interesting and informed subject matter and is by a well known author, the layout uses a facsimile font of about 4 point which is impossible to read without a magnifying glass.

There are no drawings or photos either, which makes this a dull read - and it should be interesting! The writing style itself, if you can persevere past the font size, is a bit turgid and not an enjoyable read, unfortunately.

Perhaps there's an edition of this with normal print size, if so I would suggest hunting that one down instead.

Bach: The Cello Suites
Bach: The Cello Suites
Price: £12.22

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fournier and Rostropovich) this set has by far the best sound. I've played this many times and it's ..., 8 Mar. 2016
This review is from: Bach: The Cello Suites (Audio CD)
This is marvellous music and stands up to different interpretations, as do the Violin Sonatas and Partitas.

These performances are energetic, without being too fast; passionate without going over the top; and extremely enjoyable. The sound is close-miked and brings you very close to the musician and the music, for example you can often hear fingers on strings.

The cello sounds as if it's in the room, and while I have three other versions of this music (Casals, Fournier and Rostropovich) this set has by far the best sound. I've played this many times and it's up there with the best.

Highly recommended

Baldur's Gate II: Dungeons and Dragons
Baldur's Gate II: Dungeons and Dragons
Offered by Gameseek
Price: £9.66

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... update of a classic game which looks and plays better than the original release, 28 Oct. 2015
This is a welcome update of a classic game which looks and plays better than the original release. Extra areas, characters and quests are added and the game includes the contents of the 'bonus disc' which came with the deluxe issue of the original 4 CD release - mostly extra and expensive items to purchase. The new characters have their own scripts and interactions with the old NPCs.

I would guess that most people looking at this release would already have owned and played the original releases many times and love the game. There are a few control tweaks but sound and graphics are as before - dated but quite OK.

The new Non-Playing Characters (wild mage, vampire and cleric) are interesting to play and have their own quests in Shadows of Amn and its sequel, Throne of Bhaal. The game installs on Windows 7 , whereas the older release requires you use the XP compatibility setting.

The only drawback of this new release is that some of the third party add ons for the original release will not work, although most will. This may be because the new game installs into a new directory and the third party releases install into the old directory path. No doubt someone more computer software literate than I can figure this out..

Do you want this if you have played the original - yes, as it's great value and gives many more hours of entertainment.

Highly recommended

Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival
Freedom: Atlanta Pop Festival
Price: £12.99

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, But Not Great, 31 Aug. 2015
This is a welcome ‘new’ release, adding five tracks to the 11 featured on “Stages 1970”, the only official CD release of this show. Some other tracks were also available on the long-unavailable VHS tape “Jimi Hendrix Live Atlanta “, in poor sound.

Apart from the extra songs, the sound on this new release is much improved over the old 1991 CD, with fuller bass, better bass drums and vocals. Overall, it’s not too bad for an outdoor gig in 1970. As another reviewer mentioned, no walkie talkies interfere with the show either! However, as with the ‘New York Randall’s Island’ show a week or so later, the guitar has a rather thin tone, nothing like the beautiful, full indoor sound on the Berkeley concerts. The snare drum is also rather thin and tinny but presumably this and the guitar tone are features/limitations of the original tapes and PA and cannot be ‘Pro-tooled’ or whatever to sound better. Like much of Jimi’s music it’s better when played loud.

The playing itself is enjoyable overall, particularly on the new material such as Lover Man, Freedom and Straight Ahead, and on the old favourite Red House. Some of the older material such as Spanish Castle Magic, Purple Haze and Hey Joe seems to be performed with less enthusiasm. However, Stone Free, which dated from 1966 and on the set list for almost every show in 1970, is marvellous, it really flows along. A rare and welcome “All Along the Watchtower” is nice, even when Jimi forgets the words in the first verse.

If you watch the video, Jimi seems in a rather bad mood, but nothing like the Isle of Wight or 1970 New York shows. The 1970 shows had started in late April and perhaps the energy level was dropping somewhat.

Billy and Mitch made a great rhythm section, something which seldom seems to get a mention in reviews of the 1970 shows, and they give great support; still, Mitch’s drumming sometimes lacks the sparkle of the excellent Berkeley shows – only one of which has been officially released.
Packaging is very good, but there’s a lot of background on the event and not much blurb about Jimi’s set. “Stages”, on the other hand, had liner notes which verged on gibberish and only two photos, so this release is much better in that respect.

There is one significant packaging mistake/blooper, with the album credited to "The Jimi Hendrix Experience" - so obvious I 've only just spotted it. Jimi Called the 1970 band "The Cry of Love", it was not The Experience!

Still, as there’s not much officially released live material from 1970, this is a must-buy set for Hendrix fans and it's great value for two discs. Recommended - but get Berkeley first.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 30, 2016 2:13 PM BST

Denon DP-200USB Turntable - Black
Denon DP-200USB Turntable - Black
Price: £139.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good value but not perfect, 28 July 2015
This is an excellent turntable to play LPs or record LPs onto a USB stick as MP3 for processing to CD. The cartridge is a magnetic Audio-Technica which sounds good, mush better than other moderately priced cartridges. It's a good value package, especially as mine was a gift.

A few observations, however: the tone arm lift is too small, meaning it's very hard to place it gently onto a record, and the Trans Music Manager Software is rubbish, refusing to work most of the time. Also, why not have an option to record the LP in WAV format for higher quality (but all USB turntables I've seen lack this feature). My suggestion is to transfer files to your PC, and use the free "Audacity" software instead - it's an excellent program and very easy to use after the initial half hour.


The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
The Basement Tapes Raw: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
Price: £8.99

52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leaves the 1975 Basement Tapes in the Shade, 16 Nov. 2014
Not wishing to re-hash the many favourable reviews to date, the 2 CD set is really all you need unless you have a large bank balance and do not own 'A Tree With Roots'. There is some great material here, with some songs which have never been released even on bootleg, such as the takes of One Too Many Mornings and Blowin in the Wind..

If you own the 1975 Basement Tapes set, this is still worth getting as it has more Dylan tracks and to my ears a more natural sound, although it's not hi-fi. The Band's tracks, while a good listen and valuable material, didn't really belong.

While I haven't done an audit, I think all the 1975 Dylan songs are here, sometimes in alternate takes, and most of the best material from the complete collection seems to be present as well. 'See You Later Allen Ginsberg' would have been nice but you can't have everything.

The set is worth it just for 'Get Your Rocks Off', a hilarious blues which features Bob singing, cracking up laughing, nice guitar and funny Richard Manuel backing vocals.

The 2 CD set is well priced but the 6 disc set has a stratospheric price and I'd wait for it to go on special or pick up a second hand copy. Thanks to Garth Hudson and the producers/compilers, and to Mr Dylan for allowing this material to be released at last. Packaging of the 2CD set is comprehensive and has all the information you need.

Highly recommended

Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Hendrix album.....but, 16 Nov. 2014
This review is from: Rainbow Bridge (Audio CD)
This was the second Hendrix posthumous LP after The Cry of Love, and I think it's superior to the earlier release, it just seems to hang together better. Great tracks, mostly finished Hendrix with the exception of Hey Baby, which is a well developed rehearsal with marvellous playing. Hear My Train a Coming is the best live take of this number, although there are some pretty good versions on lo fi bootlegs.

Earth Blues (with The Ronettes, no less on backing vocals) Dolly Dagger and Pali Gap are superb and would have fitted well on Cry of Love.

The cover art is largely faithful to the original (although several photos are different) and the sound seems OK, definitely a bit fuller than the original LP - I've worn out two copies I like the album so much. So why the 'but'?

Well, this has been released at full price, and all of the tracks are available from currently released Estate CDs and box sets, which almost all Hendrix fans would have. So, if you can rip CDs to your PC or have an iPod, you could easily duplicate the content of this album. To add another but, the sound on this CD seems a little better than that of the 'First Rays of the New Rising Sun' - it seems to have more light and shade and less 'compression' - but it's not really a big deal unless you have a great sound system and really concentrate on listening.

NB Don't confuse this CD with the 'unofficial' Rainbow Bridge Concerts CD, a double disc live album in medium fi from the shows Jimi and his band did in Hawaii in July 1970. This is a far more enjoyable release although only one track (Pali Gap) appears in the movie soundtrack.

As another reviewer noted, I really hope that we don't end up with re-issues of Loose Ends, War Heroes and Crash Landing!

Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' [DVD] [2013]
Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin' [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Bob Smeaton
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hardly "Definitive"..., 30 Mar. 2014
I can't add much to what's already been written by other reviewers, but quickly:


lots of unseen footage, plus rare/unseen concert footage from Miami, New York and Fehmarn, which alone is worth the damage for the DVD. The July 1970 New York gig was supposed to be poor but I thought it was OK, a pity that there was no footage for a superb 'Red House';

some interviews with people who haven't been interviewed before, such as one of Curtis Knight's Squires and Ellen McElwaine, or since 1973 (when the 'Film About Jimi Hendrix' was released), such as Collette and Linda Keith

good film and sound quality overall


the lack of interviews with people like Kathy Etchingham, Leon Hendrix (Jimi's brother) and other important people, who were/are critical to his life and music;

no real content about Jimi's drugs, women, equipment, or tragic death, or the constant argybargy about his music, legacy and issues concerning his Estate

no information that sadly many of the people interviewed are no longer with us, which would be handy for those new to Jimi's music

Nevertheless, if you view the main content DVD with a bucket of salt, worth a look and worth a purchase for the new footage.

But "definitive' no way?


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save Your Money..., 1 Jan. 2014
If this is a 'huge upgrade', it's still pretty dire: the set is an extended version of "This Flyer", one of the first issued Hendrix LP bootlegs which was drawn from low fi rambling 1969 sessions with pianist Mike Ephron.

The tracks on the first CD (which is more or less the original LP issue) are aimless, formless jams and I can't say anything good about them, so I'll leave it at that.

The second CD has some other unofficial numbers, such as an instrumental Earth Blues and Villanova Junction drawn from other unofficial CDs as 'bonuses'. These tracks were never intended for release either, and the best of them are available on other more consistent unofficial release such as 'Astro Man'.

Some of the other releases in this label's catalogue are OK, and worth at least one listen - but not this. If you want to hear Hendrix the jammer, try the unofficial Message from Nine to the Universe, which has a nice selection of jams with better musicians and much better sound.

Airfix 1:72 Avro Lancaster BII Aircraft Model Kit
Airfix 1:72 Avro Lancaster BII Aircraft Model Kit
Price: £17.66

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best 1/72 Lancaster, 11 Sept. 2013
Well, I thought the recent Revell kit was good, but this new tool release from Airfix is even better.

Airfix has also done new tools for the Mk I and III, but here you get the rare Mk II Lancaster with Hercules radial engines, which I think was the best looking Lancaster. Two nice decal options are provided, each with cool nose art: "Fanny Firkin" and "Zombie". You also get different bomb bay and ventral turret options, which apply to the different decal choices.

The kits has even more general detail than the Revell and much more cockpit detail than the dearer Hasegawa kit. It also has the correct wing dihedral, which was the main flaw of the Revell model. While the new Airfix kits are about 15-20% dearer than Revell, I think they're well worth it. Fit is generally good and this is an enjoyable build.

This is especially the case with the Mk II, as your only options to date were to purchase very expensive resin conversion kits from Paragon or CMR.

Highly recommended: thank you Airfix.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 8, 2015 9:29 AM BST

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