9th of September 2001
'Zebbie, I learned before you were born that when someone wants to see me in a hurry, the urgency is almost never mutual.' --Hilda (Sharpie) Corners in Robert Heinlein's The Number Of The Beast
Greetings! We're back after a week off for our staff to get some well-deserved rest. I myself was busy with a number of shows including Moebius, the English piping trio, who were simply wonderful. Next up for me is seeing a Punch & Judy show called 'Piggery Jokery' that Hand-to-Mouth Theatre, an English duo, is putting on here.
We get an amazing number of CDs for review here at Green Man. And this week has more than its share of music reviews that will hopefully tickle your fancy! We lead off with Gary Whitehouse's look at Doc Watson at Gerdes Folk City. He says, 'Doc Watson is a treasure, and so is Doc Watson at Gerdes Folk City.' Doc Watson's a living legend, as is Joan Baez. Gary looks at the re-issues of her first three releases: Joan Baez, Joan Baez, Vol. II, and Noel. Gary was, not surprisingly, pleased by these CDs. Read his review to see why. John Hiatt, by some lights, is also a legend -- Gary looks at his new CD, The Tiki Bar is Open. He notes that Hiatt always makes excellent recordings. Get his reasons for believing why this is so. Greg Trooper's Straight Down Rain is from a musician who may well be legendary someday. Rebecca Swain says, 'I can't recommend this disc highly enough. Every song has a memorable tune and interesting lyrics. I may never do another music review again because I can't stop playing this CD long enough to listen to anything else. Buy it.' And let's not forget Sunday Best, a collection by Russell Smith that David Kidney says 'is a collection which features songs from all three of [his] solo albums, and it turns out to be "the Cream..." because it provides an embarrassment of richness.'
Bob Dylan has been around so long that he does qualify as a Roots musician. (Really, truly.) In his review of A Nod To Bob, David notes that he is 'celebrated by 14 musicians and not a mention of age or decay.' And our reviewer also comments, 'The tribute is really paid to his songs. They are what has lasted. They spoke for a generation when they were presented by a fresh-faced lad wearing a po'boy cap and today they carry a resonance which is incontestable. The artists who have been gathered together by Red House Records are not the usual suspects who fill every tribute album that comes down the line. Rather we are presented with a cross-generational selection of folk and blues musicians who are united in their affection for Dylan, and in their own experience in the folk tradition which spawned Bob.' Read his review for all the buzz on this album!
Lars Nilsson says of Jennifer & Hazel Wrigley's Skyran, 'The album is well-balanced, with each new track or tune distinctively recognisable from the one before. Hazel and Jennifer have been playing together for nearly twenty years, since first getting instruments at the age of eight, and it shows. You can tell from their interplay that they know each other well. It is almost like they read each others' musical minds.' The Fairport Convention list has been debating the meanings of 'Celtic' and 'folk.' I intentionally didn't say which genre this CD fits into. Read his review and see if you can say where the Wrigley sisters belong. English Traditional is clearly where Kate Rusby's little lights belongs. David Kidney says, 'Kate Rusby is a beautiful girl, and as such she is being presented by some as the latest "folk-babe." She is more than that: she is a fresh new voice on the horizon. One of a few little lights brightening the darkness'
Perhaps you've noticed that our reviewers have liked everything that they've reviewed so far. Oh, well -- It couldn't last. And so we turn to No'am Newman's review of Heather Eatman's Real. No'am notes, 'The only real problem which I have with this disc is that Heather's voice doesn't sound too good. She doesn't have a full throated roar, and she doesn't have a sexy whisper; it's a sort of mousey, unattractive voice which doesn't fit in, and spoils the overall sound of the disc. As Heather is being marketed as a singer, I see this as quite a problem.' Sure is!
LoC Comments this outing are sparse, but do read the note from Mardelle Kunz concerning Michael Jones's review of the latest edition of The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. Michael's still grinning from ear to ear!
As usual, the book reviews this week are all excellent. We have two musiclore reviews. Gary Whitehouse looks at Hunter Davies' The Quarrymen, deciding that it is a book that would be of interest primarily to completists. David Kidney gives us a pithy review of The Rough Guide to Cuban Music, assuring us that 'Philip Sweeney's Rough Guide to Cuban Music is a compact little tome. Smaller than the average paperback in size, it makes up for it in readable information. It is well written and beautifully designed, just as we've come to expect from Rough Guides.'
We also have several fiction reviews this week. New staffer Mike Stiles reviews Song for the Basilisk, by Patricia A. McKillip. He liked it very much, and says, 'I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the Celtic or Nordic musical traditions. It's also for readers who like to see the prince get what's coming to him when he messes with the bards.' Princes beware! Michael Jones writes his usual insightful and entertaining brand of review about Illumination, a novel by Terry McGarry. Michael says this multilayered story tells of the coming of age of a young woman and her land, but there's much more to it than that. Read his review to find out the whole story.
Grey Walker loved Ursula K. Le Guin's latest Earthsea novel, The Other Wind, and goes so far as to proclaim Le Guin a genius. Read her thoughtful review to find out why. And Rowan Inish reviews Hellbound, a Crow novel by A. A. Attanasio. Well, it's supposed to be a Crow novel, but Rowan warns, 'Those who pick up Hellbound looking for more of the sinewy, NIN-fueled fury of the first film in the Crow series, or the sparse and raw energy of James O'Barr's comic book, are bound to be severely disappointed. For while Hellbound is many things, it is not sparse, it is not spare, it is not energetic and throughout most of its length, it's not really a Crow novel at all.'
Rebecca Swain reviews three books for teenagers by Vivian Vande Velde: Being Dead, Magic Can Be Murder, and User Unfriendly. She disliked one of the books. Read her review to find out which one and why.
That's all for this outing. I'm off to read more of F. Paul Wilson's All The Rage, one of his Repairman Jack novels. We'll be reviewing Host, the next novel in this series sometime soon. See you next week!
8th of September
'In my time we've drunk away a century / In my time we've tried to walk it honestly.' Oysterband's 'I Know It's Mine'
Jack here. There's no edition this week as we're on vacation. I'm just in the office looking for the very expensive cooking chocolate that I was told came in last week. Now where is it? Could it be here? Yes! OK, I'm leaving now with the chocolate so that I can make that Mexican chocolate beverage based on the 1644 recipe of Antonio colmenero de Ledesma. Do come back next week as we'll have lots of interesting reviews for you to read. In the meantime, I'm off to work on War for The Oaks T-shirt that Green Man Promotions will be selling soon. (You can see the design here.) Cheers!