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Waterloo: Four Days that Changed Europe's Destiny
Waterloo: Four Days that Changed Europe's Destiny
by Tim Clayton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.43

5.0 out of 5 stars The Battle For Europe, 29 Jun. 2015
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This book is the story of the battle that bought to an end over a quarter of a century of war in Europe [it perhaps was the first true global conflict]. I read this book after completing Robert Harvey's excellent overview of the Napoleonic Wars [ it starts with the French revolution in 1789] 'The War of Wars'. Tim Clayton's book covers the final battle of Napoleon and his first confrontation with Wellington, but these are not the only characters who emerge in the book, there is the amazing Marshall Blucher leader of the Prussian army who's vital intervention bought victory to the allies and the French Marshals Ney and Grouchy who's actions were to define the eventual result. Waterloo was not a single battle it was a couple spread over four days what Tim Clayton explores in the book is how much battles are won not by brilliant strategy but by mistakes, jealousies and perhaps most of all in the an era where the postal service was still new, communication.What the book does particularly well is to mingle the giants of the conflict [Napoleon, Wellington, Blucher and Gneisenau] with the lives and experiences of the ordinary soldiers caught up in the maelstrom of the battle it shows armies not as military disciplined machines but as omnivorous moving towns devastating areas in which they settled to fight. The book achieves this mix of strategy with the chaos of battle wonderfully well and is a very good read. One thing I have learned from the book is that it was best to be killed on the battlefield as if you were wounded it could take hours even days to find you and in the meantime you would be robbed of everything and when eventually found the only treatment was amputation from which you would probably die anyway!.


See The Sky About To Rain
See The Sky About To Rain
Price: £19.82

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Country/Soul Delight, 18 Jun. 2015
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This is a very Canadian album [not surprising as the album notes thank the Canadian government] it contains songs by Robbie Robertson [The Band], Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. The sound of the album seems to strive for that magical musical stew produce by The Band but as with others that have tried to do this it fails but in doing so it creates its own pleasing mix of country, blues and soul with its mix of horns, Wurlitzer organ, guitars, bass and drums. Colleen Rennison has a lovely country/soul voice reminiscent of Shelby Lynne and Bobbie Gentry [the album contains a lovely cover of Gentry's 'Fancy']. I particularly enjoyed 'Whiskey, Whiskey', 'Coyote' [a more country less jazzy version of a Joni Mitchell song] and Neil Young's 'See the Sky About to Rain'. I also like the aforementioned 'Fancy' and 'The Fool Is The Last one To Know', so the album is an enjoyable mix of styles with some great songs sung by a very strong soulful singer and this all makes for a lovely listen.


The Longest River
The Longest River
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Start, 10 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: The Longest River (Audio CD)
Olivia Chaney is one of the up and coming singers in folk music and this is her first album. the first thing to say about this album is that she has an excellent voice the singing is exquisite. The arrangements on the album are very sparse with just guitar, piano and a few strings which gives her voice plenty of room, the only exception to this is the track 'Blessed Instant' which has a very melodramatic arrangement. The rest is very tasteful I particularly liked 'False Bride' and 'The King's Horses'. So with this album what you have is an excellent beginning, which perhaps could have done with a little less restraint.


12 Stories
12 Stories
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £9.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great New Star, 6 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: 12 Stories (Audio CD)
Brandy Clark is one of the artists at the forefront of a new breed of country singers that include Angaleena Presley, Ashley Monroe and Kacey Musgraves [for whom Clark wrote 'Follow Your Arrow']. This is her debut album and it shows what a strong songwriter she is I particularly enjoyed 'What'll Keep Me Out of Heaven', 'Hold My Hand' and 'The Day She Got Divorced'. The song writing shows that she has a good eye for women's lives and the problems of ordinary people on songs such as 'Take A Little Pill'. The sound is a traditional country sound not the synth almost AOR style music of Artists like Sara Evans. So in conclusion this is an excellent debut and the best country album I have heard this year.


Anthology
Anthology
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £8.84

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Introduction To Hiatt, 1 Jun. 2015
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This review is from: Anthology (Audio CD)
John Hiatt is one of those songwriters beloved by other singers who regularly cover his songs. This compilation contains the original versions of songs covered by Rosanne Cash, Ry Cooder and Bonnie Raitt. I bought this album because I had been unable to obtain a copy of an early album called 'Warming Up to the Ice Age' and this album contains the best tracks from that album [When We Ran and She Said The Same Things To Me],there are also tracks from Hiatts finest album 'Bring The Family'[ if you only ever buy one John Hiatt album this is the one] outside of these tracks there are other gems including 'Riding With The King' covered by B.B. King and Eric Clapton, 'Pink Bedroom' covered by Rosanne Cash and 'The Way We Make A Broken Heart' superbly covered by Ry Cooder and Rosanne Cash. Hiatt has always been a strong writer although I feel he produces too many albums and could do with making fewer great albums rather than many good ones, this album however is a great overview of his career up to 2001 and has many of his finest songs so as an introduction to this artist this is an excellent place to start.


Milk And Honey
Milk And Honey
Offered by positivenoise
Price: £10.90

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Last Of John, 14 May 2015
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This review is from: Milk And Honey (Audio CD)
This is the album John Lennon was working on when he was shot [on the night in question he was actually working on a Yoko track 'Walking On Thin Ice']. Like Double Fantasy this album is split between John tracks and Yoko tracks it is supposed to be a conversation in music, but it is a bit of a one sided conversation as Lennon is by far the stronger songwriter. My favourite tracks include the single 'Nobody Told Me', 'I'm Stepping Out' and 'I Don't Want To Face It'. Most of the Yoko tracks are listenable but nothing special, also although Paul McCartney is often accused of being the sentimental one of the Lennon and McCartney partnership tracks on this album and Double Fantasy show that Lennon was equally susceptible to sentimentality with songs such as '[forgive me] My Little Flower Princess' and to be honest Lennon is not as convincing as McCartney on these tracks he tends to sound cloying. What I like most about this album and why I prefer it to the original version of Double Fantasy [the re-issue of which contains the original mix and a much better remix] is that it is not blighted by Jack Douglas's production sheen it sounds more intimate although of course there is an unfinished quality to the sound particularly on the track 'Grow Old With Me'. So this is the last John Lennon album it shows Lennon regaining his confidence, unfortunately we would never find out where this new found confidence would take him, but as a flawed final statement it is a good one.


Doctor Who: The Roundheads: The History Collection (Doctor Who - the History Collection)
Doctor Who: The Roundheads: The History Collection (Doctor Who - the History Collection)
by Mark Gatiss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Cromwell, Charles The First and The Doctor, 8 May 2015
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Mark Gatiss is one of the stalwarts of modern Doctor Who and has written a number of scripts for the series as well as creating Sherlock with Steven Moffatt. This is an old story involving The Second Doctor, Jamie, Ben and Polly who find themselves caught up in a plot to rescue Charles The First from execution. I found the story a little confusing as the four heroes split up creating three different storylines however the story is populated by the sort grotesque but likeable characters that Gatiss would enjoy writing for The League Of Gentlemen these include an unusual spy and a charismatic lady pirate. All in all it is the characters that make this an enjoyable read and a fun story.


Doctor Who: The Shadow In The Glass: The History Collection
Doctor Who: The Shadow In The Glass: The History Collection
by Justin Richards
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Doctor and Adolf Hitler, 8 May 2015
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I don't think I can write much about this story as it would give away the plot and I wouldn't wish to spoil your enjoyment. So in this story the Doctor reunites with The Brigadier to fight aliens and Adolf Hitler, Justin Richards is an old hand at writing Who novels and this is one of his best he understands the character of the sixth Doctor and his some what abrasive relationships with people, this is a well plotted tale with a very satisfactory ending [however younger readers might find the climax distressing]. Another proviso is that this is a reprint of a story written as part of the new adventures series so there are references to other stories noticeably Terence Dicks 'The Players', however this is all explained in the introduction and should not spoil your enjoyment of the story.


Wallflower
Wallflower
Price: £7.29

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diana Enters The 1970's, 4 May 2015
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This review is from: Wallflower (Audio CD)
I adore Diana Krall's voice for me she could sing the dictionary backwards and it would sound wonderful. On this album she is in excellent voice, the material on this album is perhaps an indication that she is trying to expand her audience with songs from the 1970's and 80's rather than the great American song book [Cole Porter, Irving Berlin etc.]. There is an elegant cover of 'California Dreaming' and a wonderful version of Crowded House's 'Don't Dream It's Over' as well as some songs that perhaps are a little over familiar 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love' and Elton John's 'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word'. My favourite song though is a Paul McCartney track that I don't recognise so it may have been written for this album' If I Take You Home Tonight' which has a beautiful melancholy air to it. As I wrote at the beginning of this review I feel Diana is trying to reach a wider audience and this is shown in the duets with Michael Buble [ Alone Again [Naturally] ] and Bryan Adams [Feels Like Home] and this is a change from her last album [and maybe a reaction to] the more personal 'Glad Rag Doll'. However there is one regret it is that Diana Krall is a wonderful swinging pianist and she doesn't play piano very much on this album, so the one disappointment on this album is that it lacks jazz, and so if your a fan of the jazzier Diana Krall albums then this album maybe a let down, but for me it is just a slightly negative point in what is otherwise an enjoyable album.


Couldn't Stand The Weather
Couldn't Stand The Weather
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Stevie Ray Finds His Blues, 4 Feb. 2015
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This is Stevie Rays second album [Texas Flood being the first] it shows him growing in confidence and experimenting with his sound. This album although very definitely a blues album has a rather funky undercurrent that gives the music a certain swing perhaps this is a result of Jimi Hendrix's influence on his playing style which is of course at it most explicit on the fabulous cover of 'Voodoo Chile [A Slight Return]'. The album starts with a funky instrumental 'Scuttle Buttin' and also has a wonderful bluesy ballad with 'The Things [That] I Used To Do'. The original album end with a jazz influenced track 'Stang's Slang' that is another example of Stevie Rays versatility. The extra tracks contain versions of songs that would find their way on to his next album [Soul To Soul] with 'Look At Little Sister' and 'Come On [pt.3]'. The only thing that puzzles me about these releases is the 'SRV Speaks' section they seem to add nothing to the album, but that aside this excellent album of a guitarist finding his sound and identity, things would only get better with his next album.


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