This edition, we have tales about travellers in the Middle East, an update on what Peter Beagle's up to including his first Hugo (!), crow girls, a Swedish folk festival, blackberries, penny dreadfuls for children, Irish drinking songs, well-to-do sisters and their not-so-typical lives, Anatolian folk music, fairy tale feasts, Nova Albion Amber Ale, resurrected English fiddlers, and quite a bit more! But first, let's ponder Autumn at Green Man...

'Now is come September, the Hunter's Moon begun, And through the wheaten stubble is heard the frequent gun. The leaves are pale and yellow, and kindling into red And the ripe and bearded barley is hanging down his Head.' -- 'Out On A Limb' (trad.), performed by Oak, Ash & Thorn and many others over the past 130 years.

Now is come September, as it always does. The Equinox is upon us, one of those balance points of the year -- day and night at equal length, in perfect equipoise. It is the season of harvest, of last bursts of color, of late warmth; cider and ale and spice cake. After this, we begin the long fall into the night, toward the linchpin of the Winter Solstice.

The autumnal Equinox isn't currently the big holiday it used to be. Here at the Green Man, though, it's celebrated with a certain amount of pomp and circumstance, for those so inclined -- it's the first real night time holiday, given over to old songs and tall tales. Not to mention a certain amount of running around giggling in the dark ...

We've got some hard work ahead of us here in the last quarter of the year. October is just around the corner and that's a busy time, what with Samhain coming up; and we'll be putting out another dedicated edition in late October, this one spotlighting the redoubtable Charles de Lint. And in December we'll have a very special edition -- we'll be running our first piece of fiction ever, Jennifer Steven's 'Solstice' story, as part of our Winter Solstice issue. Lots to do, lots to look forward to!

So it's that much more tempting, now, before the frosts set in, to take a little time in the garden of a clear September night. It's dark of the moon for this year's Equinox, so we'll have starlight all night. Reynard has come up with a fine autumn ale, too, something dark and sweet and warming: aside from his favourite Newcastle, I mean, though there'll be plenty of that too. And I mean to make sure there are some old and distinguished whiskies on hand, as well. Nothing clears the throat for songs and stories like an elderly single malt.

The Neverending Session will actually emerge for a bit to jam around the fire; they've been getting into seasonal stuff lately, the odd autumnal melody creeping into the mix -- 'Corn Rigs', 'John Barleycorn', some of the good ghostie tunes like 'The Wife of Usher's Well' and 'King Henry' fine stuff. I just hope Ian the bodhran player doesn't try to warm his drum-head too close to the flames again -- last time he'd tried seasoning the skin with whiskey, and we had a grotesque and tragic bodhran accident.

The bonfire is always a point of considerable consultation with Gus, of course -- his staff has been maintaining the lawns all summer, and he doesn't want us burning a hole in them. Not a good idea, to annoy Gus ... besides, I want to keep him happy because I've got my eye on all the autumn pruning he's been doing, for the fire. Lots of apple and pear wood, lots of good oak: things that will burn long and hot and give off smoke like incense. So we'll build our bonfire right where Gus wants it, in the ring in one of the courtyards, and make sure he has a good seat by the keg.

And we'll haul out the camp chairs and the cushions, and lay in a good stock of exotic chocolate bars for the S'mores. Nothing like S'mores made with regional chocolate and McVittie's! We'll pass the cups and bottles round, we'll sing old songs, we'll tell stories and lies to one another while the stars shift overhead to Winter. Time to celebrate harvest and good friends, until we run out of starlight or drink: whichever comes first.

'For all among the barley, who would not be blithe? When the ripe and bearded barley is hanging on the scythe.'

An Excellence In Writing Award winning look by Cat Eldridge at Charles de Lint's latest commercially available chapbook, Make a Joyful Noise is nothing if not thorough. He not only takes a look at the chapbook itself, but takes a look at why publishers put 'em out there in the first place. With the success of Stephen King's The Green Mile, chapbooks should have experienced an upswing among the general public. But that didn't happen, unfortunately. If you haven't tried chapbooks yet, by all means do so!

For several years, it looked as though the world was going to lose Dave Swarbrick, the puckish Fairport Convention fiddler. He's back in the land of the living now, following a double lung transplant, and is, to coin a phrase, live and kicking. That's the title of a new disc released by Swarb's Lazarus, which teams Swarb with Kevin Dempsey and Maartin Allcock. Michael Hunter found much to like in Live & Kicking. 'It all adds up to a package that is both professional and fun; heartfelt and jubilant,' Michael says. Read more about it here in his Excellence In Writing Award winning review! Michael will be reviewing 'nother legendary music act from England soon when he looks at Steeleye Span's new recording, Folk Rock Pioneers in Concert.

It should not surprise you 'tall that the staff here loves live music, and excellent though the Neverending Session in the Green Man Pub is, we seek out live music where we can quaff a pint or two of tasty ale such as that favoured by Kage Baker -- Nova Albion Amber Ale which she says tastes 'like summer twilight in a finely hopped rose garden. Where you meet your beloved. And you're twenty again.' Alas Nova Albion Amber Ale no longer exists if it ever truly did, so we'll settle for the ale Kage likes that exists today -- Blue Heron IPA.

So was the case when Lars Nilsson caught Eddie Reader, Habbadám and Lau at the Uddevalla Folk Music Festival. Where is Uddevalla, you may ask? 'Uddevalla is a coastal town in West Sweden, half way between Gothenburg and Norway, and their festival is into its 4th year (I think). It is rather a small festival, compared to British standards. Just one Friday evening, a full Saturday and a church service with folk music included on the Sunday. And it is as much as a gathering of folk musicians as a festival aimed at listeners.' Ah, but those type of performances are usually the best! Nothing like a bunch of musicians getting together for the sheer fun of it. Lars earns an Excellence In Writing Award for his thorough and enjoyable review!

Small press novels can be a mixed bag; to quote Forrest Gump, 'you never know what you're gonna get.' But Kathleen Bartholomew was up for reading five of these stories, and her review of all five separates the wheat from the chaff. 'This is not a 5-star review. It is a review of 5 books: four from Five Star Publishing and one from Llewellyn Publications. One of these books was a good read and shows promise; the other four ranged from pointless to outright bad.' If you're not up to the challenge of slogging through 'em all to find the good one, Kathleen's Excellence In Writing Award winning review tells you which story is worth your time.

Kathleen was enchanted by the children's fantasy Strange Birds. 'The surface plot is a fairly classic modern fairy-tale. On the eve of Anna Farrington's 11th birthday -- with a long-desired horse promised -- her parents vanish on a boat trip off the New England coast. Anna is devastated by her loss. Her world is further shattered by the arrival of her guardian: Aunt Formaldy, her father's sister, who ranks a high 8 on the Wicked Relative List.' Doesn't sound promising for Anna, does it? Read Kathleen's review to learn more about how Anna copes with her new circumstances, and whether you'd like to follow along.

When Donna Bird was presented with over three hundred years of Middle Eastern history, she didn't swoon with the weight of it, she rolled up her sleeves and dug right in. The Rise of Oriental Travel: English Visitors to the Ottoman Empire, 1580-1720 and From Empire to Orient: Travellers to the Middle East, 1830-1926 sound like a whole lot of work! 'The men whose experiences are the subject of these books were courageous, complex, fascinating folks. As far as we can tell from their own writings and the writings of contemporaries about them and their travels, some of them were certainly more open-minded than others about what they encountered. Some of them clearly took themselves and their 'missions' more seriously.' Sounds intriguing. Was it worth the effort? Her review -- yet another Excellence In Writing Award winner for her -- reveals all. With Donna's look at Oriental carpets last issue, these reviews make me want to head out and see the beauty of the Middle East for myself!

Craig Clarke delivers an Excellence in Writing Award winning review of Sleeping Policemen. 'A 'sleeping policeman' is a speed bump, and that's what Nick Laymon thinks he and his friends have hit when they run over something while tearing down a Tennessee back road on their way home from a strip joint. With Warren Zevon blasting on the stereo, Nick and his fellow Ransom College buddies Finney Durant and Reed Tucker are barely even aware of it when their Acura plows into a stumbling dark figure.' Is this story more than a bump in the road? Craig gives you the lowdown.

You hear the name George R. R. Martin, and you think long, luxurious books that can keep you entertained for a good long while, right? Well, what if Cat Eldridge told you he 'read every word of George R. R. Martin's The Ice Dragon in an afternoon ...with a break for High Tea and a visit to the Green Man pub to hear a visiting hardanger fiddler from Sweden (who was sitting in this week with the Neverending Session) play 'Lonesome Fiddle Blues'? Pulling your leg? Not hardly. Take a look at his review and find out how it was done...

Anthologies come at us hard and fast; sometimes they're good, sometimes they're excellent. Other times ...well, they just don't bear mentioning. Years Best Fantasy -- No. 6 isn't in the latter category thank goodness, but Cat can't say it's the best, either; '...that honor must go to The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror as it has for nineteen straight years now. It is time, I believe, that all other contenders to this title simply change their names. It is however, I must say, a most satisfying collection of short fantasy tales that will please many a reader.'

Lory Hess peeks at the mystery of The Four Forges. 'When a ragged, homeless wanderer hears these words from children playing a skipping game, he knows they bear untold significance for him -- but what could it be? Even more puzzling, when he asks the children who taught it to them, they tell him, 'Why, you did, sir.' Sevryn senses that the words of the rhyme are the key to the eighteen years lost to his memory; the years after his last journey with his mentor Gilgarran, when a visit to a secret forge proved fatal for the elder. Yet as Sevryn rebuilds his life, finding new loyalties and tasks, the rhyme's meaning still eludes him.' This is the first book of a series; see for yourself if you'd like to follow this tale.

'You know, it sucks to be a goblin. Small, not all that bright, pretty much condemned to live underground, and nothing but cannon fodder for every Tom, Dick, and Arthur Adventurer that comes questing for treasure and glory. It sucks even more if you happen to be Jig, who's one of the smallest, most hapless members of said goblin race.' Never thought goblins were to be pitied, but Michael M. Jones shows you that even goblins have problems. Goblin Quest looks at swords and sorcery from a different perspective; if that sounds intriguing give Michael's review a look!

Liz Milner does not have a book review for us this time as she's doing 'the extensive testing and tasting' that reviewing Fairy Tale Feasts -- A Literary Cookbook for Young Readers And Eaters requires. Given that it's written by Caldecott-winning author Jane Yolen and her daughter, Heidi Stemple, with illustrations by Philippe Beha who has illustrated more than than a hundred books for kids, you know the review's going to be a tasty affair!

Kestrell Rath reviews short stories this time around: 'If the establishment of canon represents the attempt to write literature's official record, then the short story represents a secret history. If the novel represents a conversation, then the short story is a secretive smile, an ironic lift of the eyebrow, a flirtatious sideways glance.' And sometimes there's nothing more alluring than a sideways glance. Read Kestrell's review of four up-and-coming short stories now, and see if you get pulled into their charms as well.

Kelly Sedinger may enjoy Young Adult literature, but that doesn't mean he 'gets it' sometimes. '[Y]oung Adult literature? It's hard for me to identify with the problems the main characters of such books face, even though a lot of those problems are familiar to me. Maybe it's ultimately about the fact that while adults may often wish they could relive their childhoods perhaps even just in part, it seems that the impulse to relive one's adolescence is most often found in former jocks and people who are simply insane. So to impress me, a writer of Young Adult fiction has to walk a very careful line.' With that line in the sand clearly drawn, read his Excellence In Writing Award winning review of Balefire, Book One: A Chalice of Wind.

Kelly had a chance to ponder differences in his living arrangements when he was working on his review of The Caliph's House: A Year in Casablanca. 'As an apartment-dweller all of my adult life, I've often daydreamed about one day buying a house that's seen better days but, with a bit of work, could be a wondrous place to live and work and raise a family... But when I think of a fixer-upper, I think of a house that's maybe several decades old -- maybe even a hundred or so -- located somewhere near the city where I already live. Not so Tahir Shah, author of The Caliph's House. Shah was living in London with his wife and young daughter when he, too, felt the allure of the fixer-upper, so he went out and bought one: a centuries old former estate on the border of a slum in Casablanca.' Sounds like a new spin on Peter Mayle's A Year In Provence. If the book is as entertaining as Kelly's Excellence In Writing Award winning review, it's definitely worth a look!

'Poul Anderson, who died in 2001, was one of the grand old voices of science fiction right up until his death, winning the Hugo Award seven times, the Nebula Award three times, and being named in 1997 as a Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America. His was a long and prolific career. In the middle of that career, he created a character named Dominic Flandry, whose adventures had eluded me as a reader until my review copy of Ensign Flandry arrived on my desk. Now I'm wondering why.' Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Kelly's ibook review of Ensign Flandry gets to the heart of the matter.

Robert M. Tilendis reviews George Alec Effinger's Budayeen trilogy, long out of print, but at last reissued. And with a pretty, new face, too! 'Covers are graced by paintings of interest in their own right that give the mood of the story without 'illustrating' it, framed with type and color panels that bring a visual feel both contemporary and classic. This sophisticated treatment continues on the inside, in everything from title page to chapter headings to page numbers. Applause! In past work as a book editor, I've had to evaluate designs, and these stories are beautifully presented.' It's always nice when publishers reissue old favorites; now see what Robert has to say about them!

Gary Turner harkens back to yesteryear with a review of Science-Fiction: The Early Years and Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years. 'Itís a humbling experience to sit down with these weighty tomes, leaf through them, and ponder the dedication and literary skill of their creators. You literally have a lifetime of hard work at your fingertips. These two volumes are a guide, and much more, to science fiction stories; from the earliest (Platoís Atlantis myth) through 1936, when SF publisher Hugo Gernsback stopped publishing Wonder Stories.'

Paranormal romance novels seem to be coming out of the woodwork lately. Here at GMR it sometimes seems that you can't turn a corner without knocking over a small stack of these suckers. Sorry, couldn't resist the pun. Elizabeth Vail takes a look at one of the latest to land in our inbox, Blood Ties, Book One: The Turning, and finds it wanting. 'The only thing that potentially sets this novel apart from the horde of identical kiss-kiss-suck-suck stories is an attempt to reconcile and humanize a particularly vicious villain, but even that is only a subplot, and a flimsy one at that.' Oh well. At least Elizabeth's Excellence In Writing Award winning review is an enjoyable read. Looks like she'll be treated to a round or two at the pub for going above and beyond on this one!

Elizabeth wraps things up this issue with an Excellence In Writing Award winning look at Rite: Short Work. 'As a fan of Tad Williams‚ longer (no, really, they are enormously freakin‚ long) works -- his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn novels, his Otherland science fantasy series -- I was very interested in finding out what his shorter work was like. Given to effective, albeit richly verbose prose, I was curious as to how he could fit his penchant for lengthy description and world-building into the medium of a short story.' The book itself its proof he can do it, so read her review to see how well it was done.

Denise Dutton here with a couple of film reviews for your viewing pleasure. They may seem like completely different topics, but there's one thing they both share: backstory. Both of these reviews also take a look at the books that gave them life, be they fiction or nonfiction. So if you're not in the mood for a film, you could grab one of the books that they're based on and settle in somewhere nice and shady. Soon they'll be plenty of time to be inside. Unless you're looking for an excuse to savor some air conditioning -- then look no further!

Donna Bird takes a look at a trio of offerings dealing with a group well-to-do sisters and their not-so-typical lives. Aristocrats deals with the Lennox sisters, the five daughters of the second Duke of Richmond. 'So, who were the Lennox sisters and why should anyone in the twenty-first century care about them? Caroline, Emily, Louisa and Sarah were four daughters (the only four who lived to adulthood) of the second Duke of Richmond and his wife, Sarah Cadogan. The Duke was the grandson of King Charles II of England, the so-called Merry Monarch, born of one of Charles's many paramours, the lovely Louise de Kéroualle. Charles thought enough of Louise and of her son, also named Charles, to grant them a duchy and quite a few other goodies... ' Donna adds a look at two books that help shed some light on this series. Read her thoroughly enjoyable Excellence In Writing Award winning review and find out a little about the Lennox sisters for yourself!

While Donna stayed in with a DVD series, Robert M. Tilendis headed out to catch the latest Philip K. Dick film adaptation, A Scanner Darkly. To make things interesting, he too took a look at the written word in order to better grasp the subject matter, in this case the original novel. 'A Scanner Darkly is not an edge-of-the-seat page turner, nor does it make a hold-your-breath adventure film. Dick's novel is a study in disintegration, appalling but absorbing, stark, poetic, often hallucinatory, with a profound emotional impact.' Does the film live up to the novel? Robert's look at both sides of this adaptation earns him an Excellence In Writing Award for his in-depth analysis of a much talked about film and the classic novel it's based on.

Who doesn't love Star Wars? You may love all the movies or have a particular trilogy (or specific film -- mine's Return of the Jedi) but there's no denying that it's practically a part of the collective unconscious all on its own. So when Charles Ross developed his One Man Star Wars, April Gutierrez knew she had to head out to see it. 'Ross uses no props at all; the stage is bare. It's just him in a loose, dark outfit as he provides all the voices and physical action.' I'm sold; do you need more info? April's Excellence In Writing Award winning review provides the details.

Gary Whitehouse harked back to the golden era of rock with his review of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. 'It was a real trip for all of us aging Boomers -- as we are watching our country floundering in yet another stupid war, seeing (or not seeing) another generation of kids coming home in flag-draped coffins -- to watch and listen to these guys once again singing with great passion songs like 'Ohio,' and 'Chicago,' and 'Find the Cost of Freedom,' and 'Military Madness' and 'Immigration Man' and 'For What It's Worth.' But CSNY is more than just a protest band; their songs are still popular (and eerily relevant) today. Read Gary's review to see if it's déjà vu all over again.

It's late summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the best season for fresh fruit. Gary Whitehouse .here, to introduce this issue's batch of CD reviews. But first, if I slip out of my cubbyhole here in the western wing of the GMR head office this time of year, I can pick some cultivated blueberries and wild blackberries, although I sometimes have to tussle for the best ones with various neighborhood sprites, masked 'possums, boot-wearing raccoons and such. Fortunately, by late morning when I generally arrive, most of them are dozing, sated, under the hawthorns -- they've learned to stay out from under the black walnuts, which start flinging down their hard little packages about now, too. Once I've picked a few cups 'orth, I'll take 'em down to the pub (along with one or two of the peaches that seem to show up on the front steps every day or so like so much flotsam), where the publican will whip up a pleasing potable involving (depending on the time of day and whether I'm just beginning or just finishing my editing chores) either some honey-flavored yogurt or some crushed ice and Cuban rum. Right now, I've got a stack of music reviews to tell you about (as you can see, it's been a particularly, er, fruitful fortnight for our music writers), so I'm afraid it'll be one of those non-alcoholic smoothies..

Donna Bird gives us a brief introduction to the Turkish ensemble Efkar, and reviews their CD, Back to Anatolia, which she found delightful. 'Efkar is a six-person ensemble, featuring two female vocalists, as well as four men who play various traditional percussion, string and wind instruments. One of the vocalists, Sabahat Akkiraz, has six solo CDs to her credit, so we can assume that she is quite well-known as a performer. It looks as though all the men have played with Kurdish singing legend Sivan Perwar. Flutist Ismet Demirhan also plays with a Swedish band called In the Labyrinth. Percussionist Hakan Vreskala shows up with Superstar Orkestar, another Swedish band.' Learn more from Donna's Excellence in Writing Award-winning review.

Reviewer Richard Condon says: 'The Putumayo label -- along with various ventures by Peter Gabriel and Ry Cooder, the Rough Guide recordings and broacasts on BBC World Service by Andy Kershaw and Charlie Gillett, to name some of the most prominent influences -- has helped an alert public in North America, Europe and Australasia to become aware of so-called world music'. Richard receives an EIWA for his review of two Putumayo Presents releases, Mali and Afro-Latin Party.

Scott Gianelli is continent-hopping this issue, from Europe to Africa: 'Contrary to what the title might suggest, Chant Wars does not consist of Sequentia and Dialogos squaring off against each other with deuling sets of Gregorian chants,' he says in his review of Sequentia and Dialogos' Chant Wars. 'In fact, the vocalists of the two groups perform together on this recording. The album title instead refers to the conflict of different approaches to chanting that took place during the reign of the emperor Charlemagne in the ninth century.

Scott says 'The hammered dulcimer is not very commonly used in Celtic recordings, especially as a lead instrument.' He applauds Ken Kolodner's use of it on Journey to the Heartland.

Moving to Africa for his third review this outing, Scott says, 'Thandiswa combines black musical styles from her homeland and from abroad; on Zabalaza, you will hear township jive, kwaito, and traditional Xhosa music interwoven with soul, R&B, gospel, jazz and reggae. In addition, Thandiswa has quite a bit to say with her lyrics, alternately sung in English and Xhosa but always direct and to the point.

Lory Hess has been delving into the John Jacob Niles catalog. If Niles 'is just a name to you--perhaps most famously attached to the haunting carol 'I Wonder as I Wander' -- then listening to this recording will make him into a Voice.' Lory says. ' And I mean that capital V.' See what Lory means in a review of the reissued I Wonder as I Wander: Carols and Love Songs.

Lory also looks at a couple of classical CDs, Dietrich Buxtehude's seven sacred concerto-cantatas of Membra Jesu Nostri, and Rolande de Lassus' seven Penitential Psalms traditionally recited during Lent, 'Psalmi Davidis Poenitentiales.' See why Lory thinks these two recordings 'belong next to Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Handel's Messiah on any choral music lover's shelf.'

David Kidney listens with open ears and mind to Eric Andersen's Waves, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham's live disc Moments From This Theatre and John Stewart's The Day the River Sang and finds a common thread running through these three albums by four great American songwriters.

'Aah, 1970,' David recalls. 'It was a magical time. The Beatles released their final album. The Rolling Stones were getting their ya-yas out. People were looking for new sounds. Bigger sounds. Chicago. Blood Sweat & Tears. Horn bands were all the rage.' Into this scene stepped The Ides of March with their album Vehicle, and David reviews a reissue of this fine album.

David asserts in an EIWA-winning look at Maria Muldaur's Heart of Mine that Ms. Muldaur is in her second golden era. 'Heart of Mine revels in the romantic side of Bob Dylan's songwriting. A dozen of his finest love songs are presented in wonderful renditions by one of America's finest stylists.'

Lars Nilsson, not a drinker of strong alcohol himself, says, 'The English often sing the praises of beer and ale, but the Irish prefer something stronger.' Lars reviews two collections if Celtic drinking songs. He finds one goes down smoothly, while the other left him feeling befuddled. Read his review to see which was which.

Lars also listened to a recording by Simon Mayor & Hilary James that made him very, very happy: 'When I listen to this CD, words like charming, refreshing, playful and irresistible pop up in my head. I may be 53 years old, but if this is only meant for children to listen to, then count me in that category. Chidren's Faourites from Acoustics is a collection of songs and instrumentals recorded especially with children in mind. ' Read his lovely review for all the cheerful details!

Robert M. Tilendis declines to effuse over a reissue of Arthur Rubenstein's recordings of four Beethoven piano sonatas ('Moonlight,' 'Les Adieux,' 'Pathétique' and 'Appassionata'), but does that mean he doesn't like this recording? 'Since it's Rubenstein, it's ridiculous to think that the performances could be anything less than intelligent and sympathetic,' Robert says. 'What is most remarkable is the clarity of Rubenstein's expression, the awareness of the overall shape of the works, and the warmth and fluidity throughout that are ample reward for listening.' Read more in his review.

Ah, hello; it's Gary Whitehouse back with you again. I've found the summer of 2006 to be quite fruitful in terms of Americana releases, including Post-War, the new one from Portland, Oregon-based M. Ward. The territory Ward covers is the full Americana map: based on delta blues, richly indebted to the work of John Fahey, and also giving a nod to (Howe) Gelb's fondness for wordplay and sonic experimentation. Other influences range from Motown to Bakersfield, Beatles to Beach Boys to Bowie. Toss it all in a blender, add plenty of reverb and make it sound like it's playing on an ancient turntable, and you have Ward's latest release, Post-War.

Lonnie Melvin 'Mel' Tillis had an amazing run of country hits that blanketed the decade of the '70s from one end to the other. Australian reissue label Raven has gathered all of his Top 5 hits for the first time on one disc, Hit Sides! 1970-1980.

Danish musicians Harald Haugaard and Morten Alfred Hoirup continue to make beautiful music together on Gaestebud/Feast, their fifth release. This time, they've invited a bunch of friends along, and truly created a feast of Nordic (and related) acoustic folk music. Read the review to see why I liked this one so much.

I encountered two bands making Louisiana-based music on a recent trip to Quebec. Both the Grouyan Gombo Cajun group and Red Stick Ramblers swing band have excellent CDs: Betsy Stomp and Right Key, Wrong Keyhole respectively. .

A couple of old-timers, Jessi Colter and Ramblin' Jack Elliott, have released new CDs that reveal them both to be still going strong. I liked both Colter's Out of the Ashes and Jack's I Stand Alone, as you can read here.

This is not, repeat not, 'Cajun music,' I say of Drew Landry and the Dirty Cajuns' Tailgaten Relief & Hurricane Companion EP. 'Landry's a Cajun, but he sings a swampy, bluesy style of folksy rock, or rockin' folk. I think of him as a young Cajun John Prine -- he has that same lyrical swagger and sense of outrage tempered by humor, as well as a sense of place and history and bluecollar values.' The editorial staff kindly bestowed an Excellence in Writing Award on me for this review, of a CD which I found much to my liking.

In 1975, filmmaker Jim Szalapski shot a documentary about some of the up-and-coming young songwriters in the second generation of what was called 'outlaw country' music. Heartworn Highways, a 'soundtrack' CD of music performances recorded for the filming of that documentary has just been released. It features some vibrant live recordings by Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, David Allan Coe and a very young Steve Earle, among others. Read my review here.

A Peter Beagle update to finish off this edition...

Connor Freff Cochran, his good friend and publisher, emailed us this Sunday morning with this message:

'Two Hearts' did win the Hugo. Peter's first nomination, and first win.

He just called me to let me know. 'I swear, Connor, I don't think my feet are touching the ground. I'd convinced myself it couldn't possibly happen, and I keep saying 'Son of a bitch, I won' to myself. Over and over.'

Even better than just winning, he got to do it standing on the same stage with Betty Ballantine, the woman who put The Last Unicorn out in paperback in 1969, and who was there herself to receive a special award.

Congratulations Peter!!!

Also please note that Subterranean Press is now taking pre-orders on their limited edition signed hardcover called The Last Unicorn: The Lost Version of, which should be out in time for winter holiday gift givers. It contains Peter's original, radically different 80-page take on The Last Unicorn (written five years before the version we all know and love) plus a new introduction and afterword by Peter himself, and cover art by Michael Wm. Kaluta. People can pre-order here. Bill Schafer at Subterranean suggests that 'folks preorder early, as the size of the edition will be directly related to the preorders.' Kathleen Bartholomew will be doing the Green Man review as soon as our advance reading copy arrives.

And congraulations to one of our staffers for getting quoted in F&SF: 'The Last Unicorn proceeded to run 220 volts through my little 110 volt brain,' writes Kathleen Bartholomew in her introduction to the Peter S. Beagle issue of Such responses to Mr. Beagle's work are common, and that 220-volt line runs strong. Mr. Beagle's recent work includes a story collection, The Line Between and a forthcoming novel entitled Summerlong. 'El Regalo' first appeared in The Line Between. It's a fine work of fantasy for Young Adult readers of all ages.

For more on this talented aurthor and really great person, visit our special Peter Beagle issue here.


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Artwork of woman at desk is by Anne Anderson, the Scottish children's book illustrator.

Updated 14.00 GMT, 28.08.2006 by Iain MacKenzie who needs his Turkish coffee
archived 09_09_2006 9: 45 pm PST LLS