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Chris M. "Bowhill_Books" (Eye, Suffolk, UK)

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BBC Radiophonic Music
BBC Radiophonic Music

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Radiophonic Album, 4 Sept. 2010
This review is from: BBC Radiophonic Music (Audio CD)
First compiled in 1968 as an in-house BBC Library LP, this was given a full commercial release in 1970 and was the first sampling of the Radiophonic Workshop's output. I must admit (being something of an anorak) it's a bit frustrating not to know exactly when the tracks were recorded - are they 1965-68 or '67-68? At least the "21" LP of 1979 put everything in date order. Either way this CD is a great snapshot of the RW's output from their three principle composers of the period. John Baker's compositions are by and large the most 'hummable' but Delia Derbyshire's 'Pot au Feu' is remarkable - almost her CV in musical form. The original compilers should be congratulated for making it a Dr Who theme-free release.

Another inconsequential gripe is that the Workshop's output from the period just after this (say 1968-70) has never been properly sampled. This would be particularly interesting as it would represent the last of the 'Baker Technique' recordings before the dreaded (and dreadful) synths came along to spoil the party.


The Puppet Company - Large Birds - Green-billed Toucan Hand Puppet
The Puppet Company - Large Birds - Green-billed Toucan Hand Puppet

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun for Kids, 28 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I won't waffle on too much, as this is very much a WYSIWYG item, except to say that this puppet, along with its cousins, has a loud squawk when you move the beak, which gives it oodles more character than a silent puppet. My son (now 11) has had it for 9 months now and whilst the novelty factor wore off after a while, 'Beaky' comes out now and again, with little sign of wear or tear at all. Great fun, and recommended for children anywhere between 5 and 11.


The Puppet Company - Large Birds - Amazon Green Hand Puppet
The Puppet Company - Large Birds - Amazon Green Hand Puppet

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun for Kids, 28 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I won't waffle on too much, as this is very much a WYSIWYG item, except to say that this puppet, along with its cousins, has a loud-ish squawk when you operate the beak, which gives it much more character than a silent puppet. My daughter (8) has had it for 9 months now and there's no sign of wear or tear at all. Great fun, and recommended for children anywhere between 5 and 11.


Fragile [DVD]
Fragile [DVD]
Dvd ~ Calista Flockhart
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Film But Distracted By U.S. Star, 14 July 2010
This review is from: Fragile [DVD] (DVD)
Have no fear, I'm not going to give much away as to the plot, but I think it's a good film, with plenty of suspense and a sparing approach to full-on horror. However, I have to admit to being almost constantly distracted by Calista Flockhart's slightly strange looks, finding myself often posing the question 'has she had a nose job?' or 'is that a trout pout?' instead of following the plot! Most of the supporting cast are jobbing UK actors and quit honestly it might have been better if the producers hadn't felt the need to 'bus in' a 'star' from across the pond and instead used another solid British actor in the leading role. The children are particularly good in their supporting roles.


Toward The Sun/Fluid Druid
Toward The Sun/Fluid Druid
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £12.58

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Derivative but worth a Listen, 23 Jun. 2010
I still have an old vinyl copy of Toward The Sun and cannot recall why on earth I bought it - maybe it was a charity shop/jumble sale job. That said, I can remember listening to it for the first time and being simply staggered by the similarity to 'Yes Album' era Yes. It was almost as if the band members had grown up listening to nothing else. Whilst the compositions were originals the delivery and arrangements were so Yes-like I'm surprised Messrs Anderson & Co didn't sue on the grounds of imitation/passing off etc etc. High pitched vocal harmonies, airy-fairy lyrics, clanking Rickenbacker basslines, Mellotron - you get the picture. Perhaps Druid were the first ever Tribute Band?

Anyway, far more interesting is the trivia. Andrew McCrorie Shand (keyboards) went on to be musical director for the Teletubbies children's TV show, whilst bassist Neil Brewer filmed 80 episodes as the foil to TV's 'Rosie and Jim'. Funny how life turns out innit??


John Peel Session (24th April 1973)
John Peel Session (24th April 1973)
Price: £1.99

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Addition to the Cow Canon, 23 Jun. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First off, I'm quite bemused by the John Peel Session MP3 'albums' that have cropped up on Amazon - a really eclectic selection of mostly punk/new wave outfits with a handful of exceptions, such as Henry Cow, currently one of the earliest sessions to be released. Along with other listeners I'm grateful to the other reviewer for pointing out the rather embarrassing mis-naming of tracks. Of the tracks here the two obvious good 'uns are Nirvana for Mice and Nine Funerals. 'Glider' (a.k.a. Bee) starts OK but drifts into the rather pointless noodling that Henry Cow tended towards sometimes. I much prefer their more 'composed' pieces. Mastered a bit on the quiet side, this is still good value at under 60p per track.

According to Wikipedia, Cow recorded two sessions for the programme in 1972 and one in 1974 - any sign of these being released?


The Who:and the Making of Tommy (Vinyl Frontier)
The Who:and the Making of Tommy (Vinyl Frontier)
by Nigel Cawthorne
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars Rent-a-Writer Alert!, 19 Jun. 2010
Having read the other reviews for this book I'm going to give it a wide berth. I'd also add that the writer appears to have little experience of writing 'serious' music books, and would add that his other works include a series where the titles begin "The Sex Lives of . . . " and has also written on the risible subjects of true crime, serial killers etc. I assume these are the type of books that s/h booksellers like me come across (and usually bin) every day!

If you want a good read on the Who, I can recommend the Q Magazine 'Special Edition' (The Who: The Inside Story) on the group published in 2004.


Quadrophenia
Quadrophenia
Price: £5.99

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but not quite as Magnificent as cracked up to be . . . ., 16 Jun. 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Quadrophenia (Audio CD)
It's been fascinating to read the various reviews of this album, most of which are 4 or 5 star even though many criticise this album in various degrees. It's almost as if there's something sacred about it. I've similarly wimped out of giving it three stars simply because of the smattering of great tracks plus the simple fact that it's The Who goddammit. Like a handful of other reviewers I didn't grow up with the band and have only recently been exploring their back catalogue, having just owned 'Who's Next' for some considerable time, which is a ruddy tough act to follow, easily one of the best rock albums of all time.

My impressions of Quadrophenia (which may get revised over time) is that there's too much filler, too little 'story' (unlike Tommy) and less light and shade than on earlier Who albums. I'd also add that whilst Tommy is a character you genuinely feel for (think 'See Me Hear Me Feel Me'), I really couldn't give a toss about Jimmy!

Musically, there's a lot of filler here, such as side 4's 'The Rock' which is largely a rehash of the title track on side 1. This follows 'Doctor Jimmy' which I cannot stand. It makes for Side 4 falling a long way short of the promise given by 'The Real Me' which apart from anything else is a fabulous Entwistle-fest, with some of the most innovative bass playing of all time and multi-tracked brass as well. Elsewhere Roger Daltrey seems to sing at full pelt all the way through, the quieter vocal moments coming when Townshend takes over. Keith Moon's drumming is rather samey - witness the two adjacent tracks starting with almost identical drum fills - didn't anyone spot that?? Don't get me wrong, there are some great tracks here (The Real Me, 5.15 etc) but with all the tracks lasting an average of 4-5 minutes, there's a feeling that a little trimming here and there would have helped to make Quadrophenia more concise with greater impact (and, years later, would have conveniently fitted on a single CD).

In the great rockumentary 'The Amazing Journey', Townshend rates Quadrophenia as "absolutely magnificent" - so who am I to argue? Well, this is Amazon - I haven't got PT standing in front of me. It's flawed, not least because to me there's a disconnect between a bunch of hairy rockers singing about sharp-suited Mods, which might explain the unpopularity of the album when played live. Ah what the hell, here's a real heresy - I reckon 'The Who By Numbers' is actually better. It's more personal, the songs are shorter, there are no bl**dy synthesizers, the cover art makes you laugh and it's got 'Success Story' as well. That's all for now!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2011 6:22 PM GMT


Now We Are Ten
Now We Are Ten
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Sampler of the Trunk Canon, 27 May 2010
This review is from: Now We Are Ten (Audio CD)
Samplers are by definition rather patchy affairs and this is no exception. However, if you're going to buy it for one track alone, it'll be for the opener "I Start Counting" (by Basil Kirchin, sung by a young female stand-in, called Lindsey Moore I believe) which is just one of the loveliest tracks I've ever heard. Nuff said.


Girl in a Suitcase: Upgraded
Girl in a Suitcase: Upgraded

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Steady On Old Beans . . . ., 26 May 2010
As a fan of library music, I can quite sympathise with the three 5-star ratings for this release, but wonder whether the authors have lost a little objectivity. When it's good, library music is great. When it's not so good, it's pretty bad, and this CD has both in equal measure and all points in between. Being a recent convert to MP3 format, I've been rating each track in my Windows music library and was surprised how few tracks got 4 or 5 stars and how many got just 3 and a few just 2.

Instrumental music (of any form) is at its worst when either (a) you've heard the salient points in the first 30 seconds, leading to the question, why spin the tune out to 3 minutes? and (b) when it sounds like the backing track to a vocal song where the singer's failed to turn up. With 66 tracks, this double CD has at least a few tracks which fall into these categories, though there are some belters along the way, such as the opener ('The Zodiac', by David Lindup), one of the precious few library tracks to get widespread attention by its inclusion in the opening segment of 'The Full Monty'.

Elsewhere there are Test Card tunes (hugely variable) and long-forgotten TV themes, such as Johnny Pearson's sublime music later used for 'Mary Mungo and Midge'.

Ultimately, this is one compiler's subjective selection of TV themes, and the likes of me would come up with a completely different line-up, which I would rate as 5-star, but others would see as 3-star. This package is good, but let's be honest, only great in places.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 19, 2011 5:39 PM BST


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