'Good evening, Lord Corwin,' said the lean cadaverous figure who
rested against a storage rack, smoking his pipe, grinning around
it. 'Good evening, Roger. How are things in the nether world?' 'A
rat, a bat, a spider. Nothing much else astir. Peaceful.' 'You enjoy
this duty?' He nodded. 'I am writing a philosophical romance shot
through with elements of horror and morbidity. I work on those parts
down here.' 'Fitting, fitting,' I said. 'I'll be needing a lantern.'
He took one from the rack, brought it to flame from his candle.
'Will it have a happy ending?' I inquired. He shrugged. 'I'll be
happy.' 'I mean, does good triumph and hero bed heroine? Or
do you kill everybody off?' 'That's hardly fair,' he said. 'Never
mind. Maybe I'll read it one day.' 'Maybe,' he said.
Roger Zelazny's The Hand of Oberon
29th of August, 2004
Kim Bates, Music Editor, here bringing you
some musings on the world that ties us together here at Green
Man Review. I've always loved our motto of bringing you the
best of the 'roots and branches' of folklore traditions, because
the traditions harken to a kind of magic, to a secret world, that
can be experienced but never really explained. Most of us like
working here on the border, in our Green Man offices, slipping
across into the otherworld -- and some days we might even want
to live there. And we're lucky, because we can share the little
bits and pieces we pick up with each other -- glimpses of the
far shore that we retain in our waking minds, that we glean from
the visions of the authors, film makers and musicians that we
review. Of these things, the music often seems to provide the
most elusive glimpses of that otherworld, and yet to me the most
evocative ones. As an editor I see our writers' valiant endeavors
to communicate the magic in the material we review. Because it's
there in the beat of a drum, in the twang of a bow on a string,
in the indrawn breath before a note -- oh it's there, all right.
Without the otherworld, music might not even exist, for where
would it transport us if there were no magic?
And that brings us back to the traditions -- those
rhythms, ballads, melodies and conventions that encode the otherworld
in melody, rhythm and story. In my more prosaic moments I almost
believe that traditional pieces are those that have withstood
the ultimate marketing focus group: generations of players and
listeners who chose not to discard them, but rather to carry them
forward. But then I shake my head and come back to reality, and
remember the feeling that comes from listening to traditional
music, of being carried away into another place that seems to
overlap our own, of the joy I feel when a song writer hits the
mark with an original work that seems destined to join a list
of essential songs. Sure, we humans can implicitly recognize the
rules that bound a traditional musical form -- that Cajun beat
or the slippery melody that makes it a Celtic reel. But that's
not why we listen -- we listen because of the feelings the music
evokes, the little tremor that runs down our spine when a ballad
hits home, when a voice brings something across -- with an new
melody written within a tradition connects with something very
So, listen, read, get yourself out to a film or
gig, and think about the world that's lurking just behind the
artist's vision. It's there, waiting around the corner, between
the notes, just after the final chapter. I can't really describe
it here; but like the artists whose work Green Man reviews,
I can point the way. You'll just have to go there on your own.
leads off her Excellence in Writing Award winning review
of Year's Best
Fantasy and Horror, Volume 17 by noting: 'Since its inception,
the Year's Best Fantasy and Horror has been a Great Big
Deal for readers of fantasy and horror. I remember checking out
Volume 1 from my local library when I was in college, and
being floored by the number of quality stories collected in one
volume. Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow have become legends in
the field of editing, well known for their superior choices for
this series. In fact, getting into YBFH is a stated goal
for every single writer of my acquaintance.' Now I have a confession
-- I have a full set of these anthologies that so much for the
fiction which both Maria and I believe is excellent but for the
hundred or so pages of commentary on the year's best books, music,
DVDs, and so forth. Our reviewer likes that aspect too: '#17
begins with the summation of worthy works from 2003; the number
of books mentioned which we've reviewed here at Green Man
is quite gratifying. The summation is always one of my favorite
parts of the anthology...' Now go read the entire review to see
how this year's anthology compared to the outings of the past!
brings us another fascinating volume this week, with her review
of a book edited by Kevin Binfield and released by Johns Hopkins
University Press: 'The word 'Luddite' was originally
used to identify groups of early nineteenth century English textile
workers who protested the mechanization of their crafts by smashing
the offending machines. In recent decades, popular authors including
Wendell Berry, Jerry Mander, Jeremy Rifkin and Kirkpatrick Sale
have appropriated the word and its close variant 'Neo-Luddite,'
to refer to just about anyone who rejects some form of technology.
Depending on the author, the word may be used pejoratively or
with admiration. Before I picked up this book, most of my understanding
of the word came from the more recent sources. Kevin Binfield's
Writings of the Luddites provides an intriguing view of
the original 'machine breakers.' The title is an apt
description of the book's contents. Writings
of the Luddites offers a well organized and edited collection
of letters, broadsides, and song lyrics.'
Green Man welcomes new staff writer J.J.S.
Boyce, who starts his career here with a look at editor
Mike Ashley's Mammoth
Book of Comic Fantasy and Mammoth
Book of Comic Fantasy Volume II. J. says '[H]ighlights
of the first book (for me) include: 'The Distressing Damsel,'
a rather humourous take on various princess myths; 'Looking-Glass
Land,' an excerpt from Lewis Carroll's second Alice story; 'The
Return of Max Kearny,' which follows one of the cases of a paranormal
investigator; 'A Fortnight of Miracles,' a novella length adventure
involving a cursed knight and the sharp-witted magician who tries
to solve the mystery of his malady; 'The Return of Mad Santa,'
which boasts a provocative title I defy you to resist; and 'Been
a Long, Long Time,' which poses the question of just how long
it would take for a monkey to randomly type out the works of Shakespeare.
But this is only a small sampling, and in fact, each story in
this collection has something to offer.' And that's just the first
Letters Editor Craig
Clarke was a busy man this week, handing in three interesting
reviews representing hours of reading and listening on his part.
He picks up an Excellence in Writing Award for the first
of these, a review of a radio series from Frank Macchia and Tracy
London: 'Winner of the Publisher's Weekly Listen Up Award, the
Evil Things series is the brainchild of Frank Macchia
(writer, producer, composer, actor) and wife Tracy London (writer,
editor, producer, actor) in their endeavor to bring all the fun
of the suspense and horror programs from the Golden Age of Radio
forward into the twenty-first century with dramatic interpretations
and accompanying music suited to the actors' performances. Each
CD contains four or more creepy tales designed to 'chill your
bones and let your imagination run wild.' As a fan of those old
radio shows -- like Escape, Inner Sanctum Mysteries,
and Suspense -- I was particularly eager to hear the results
and I'm glad to say that I was generally pleased with what I found.
This series is filled with terrific parts that flow cohesively
into an entertaining whole: in particular Frank Macchia's acting-attuned
scores, the writing of Macchia and Tracy London (his solo writing
is missing the same spark), and Jim McDonnell's energetic narration
that made me ask, 'Where has this guy been?''
Michael Slade's Death's
Door didn't work for Craig ('Always sensationalistic,
Slade has somewhere along the way descended from being merely
engagingly over-the-top into self-parody, with a selection of
flaws making Death's Door a struggle to get through.')
but he thoroughly enjoyed two Richard Matheson selections from
Gauntlet Press' Edge Books imprint and edited by Stanley Wiater:
Stories, Volume 1 and The
Twilight Zone Scripts, Volume 2. Craig says '[D]epending
on how the reader approaches his Matheson appreciation, either
of these books are an excellent representation of his style and
the quality of his work. Fans of modern horror, science-fiction,
or fantasy who never considered approaching a classic writer would
do well to pick up his work, as it has aged well (apart from specific
instances where a 'far into the future' year mentioned
has already passed). Stephen King considers Matheson his greatest
Eldridge takes a look at a small selection of books from
Georges Simenon, books centered on his legendary detective Inspector
Maigret: 'This is not some dark, angst ridden detective who broods
upon his lot. No, Maigret likes good food including raw oysters,
great wine, conversation, and company of his wife. He is a peasant
at heart, no more and no less than an archetypal French commoner.'
Find out more in Cat's review of Madame
Maigret's Own Case, Maigret
and The Apparition, Maigret
and The Burglar's Wife, Maigret
and The Spinster, Maigret
and the Wine Merchant, Maigret
in Holland, and Maigret's
Folklore: Folk Contexts and Twentieth-Century Literature and Art
is quite an imposing title; Robert
Tilendis was certainly up to the challenge of reviewing
this scholarly work from Frank de Caro and Rosan Augusta Jordan.
'De Caro and Jordan stress early on,' Robert explains, 'that folklore
is a medium of communication, and not only a cultural repository.
There are several basic ways in which folklore makes its way back
into artistic expression, such as imitation of form -- the authors
cite the eighteenth- and nineteen-century 'literary ballads,'
forms taken from folk songs and translated into a literary form
to the extent that it is sometimes difficult to discern origins,
particularly when the literary example has worked its way back
into the popular repertoire.'
Robert has high praise for the works discussed in
his next review: 'I am strongly tempted to begin this discussion
by simply stating that there are very few works of fantasy of
which one can say unreservedly, this is brilliant. Of the
bare handful of contemporary contenders, it is perhaps of interest
to note that one is Barry Hughart's undeniably astonishing and
hysterically funny trio of the adventures of Li Kao and Number
Ten Ox that begins with Bridge of Birds, set in a China
that never was (but, according to some commentators, should have
been). Another is Sean Russell's poetic tale of Brother Shuyun
of the Botahist Order; the Lady Nishima Fanisan Shonto, descended
of Emperors; and her adopted House of Shonto, one of the noblest
and most powerful in the Empire of Wa, encompassed in The
Initiate Brother and Gatherer
of Clouds.' Robert takes a double Excellence in Writing
Award for these two reviews.
Finally, Birthday Boy (for he's a Jolly Good Fellow!)
looks at a collection of reviews edited by Jim Irvin and Colin
McLear: 'Trying to fill out your CD collection of reissued gems
from the 1960s and 1970s? Wondering which Frank Sinatra or Elvis
Presley albums are classics? Spent the '90s listening to heavy
metal and wonder what else you missed? Trying to find something
from the '80s worth listening to? The
Mojo Collection (Third Edition) might be a good place
Green Man's dynamic duo of Barb
Truex and Chris
White checked out the Bloomsday celebration at Maine Irish
Heritage Center in Portland, Maine. The celebration featured
the world premiere of Tony Reilly's Ulysses for Beginners,
a theatrical adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses.
Despite problematic acoustics and a non-functional multimedia
PowerPoint show, Truex and White found the production to be 'an
absolute delight; the five actors reading, plus creator Tony Reilly
as Narrator, managed to entertain and elucidate with a witty,
comic, synopsis of Joyce's book. Furthermore, they did so with
all due respect for the source; Ulysses
for Beginners offered the audience a glimpse into Joyce's
masterpiece that made one more inclined to tackle (or return to)
Annuver day, annuver dollar. SPike
here again. Recovered from yet annuver brush wif death! I wuz
ridin' Dave's son's motorcycle, an' it spun out after a horrible
big bird came flappin' an' squawkin' from the hen house...unfortunately
we couldn't save the bloody bird (although it did make quite a
nice lunch) but I personally wuz rescued an' left shaken and disturbed
to rest out the week listenin' to the late, great Joe Strummer
singin' 'Coma Girl' an' 'Redemption Song.'
Wot a way to go! Anyway...on to this weeks aural feast...
Tim Hoke (Senior
Writer / Film Review Editor) begins the repast with a look at
a new CD by Tim Eriksen, Every
Sound Below. He describes it thusly...'The recording
is low-tech in the extreme. Monophonic. Single microphone. No
overdubs. Just Eriksen's voice and/or instrument (one at a time:
either guitar, banjo or fiddle). Single microphone doesn't mean
that the music sounds muddy, like an old Victrola record; actually
it's very clean. The nuances are heard clearly...the songs are
mostly old ones...' Sounds weirdly interestin' don't it.
Read the review for all the details.
Next course is Moch Pryderi's Dancing
in the Pigsty reviewed by Lenora
Rose. She 'as a real handle on the music...but it's the
title wot fascinates me! Lenora says 'Incidentally, all the
references to pigs, pig-drives and Pryderi are directly related
to one branch of the Mabinogion, the Welsh national epic, although
certainly more tongue-in-cheek than reverent.' Hmmm. An Excellence
in Writing Award for Lenora!
Primitive singer-songwriters, celtic pig songs...it's
a @#$%in' heady mix, ain't it! But there's lots more!
Senior Writer and (huzzah!) new father Kelly
Sedinger enjoyed Glimmer
by Sturla Eide & Andreas Aase. 'There's always something
captivating about a well-done album of traditional folk music,'
he proclaims, '...especially in the area of traditional instrumental
music. It's something that goes beyond the notes on the paper
to the idea that the traditions of performance themselves have
in some way been transmitted down to us.' Read 'is review
to see where he goes wif this!
Tilendis 'as opened a new vista of music 'ere at the ole
Green Man. His review of Trio Mediaeval (Ivan Moody)'s
de Tournai / Words
of the Angel is a perfect example of the variety his presence
adds to the mix. 'This is very peaceful music, partaking
of all the qualities mentioned above and leaving room for quiet
contemplation, which I'm sure must have been its original intention.
Beautifully done.' An' if you want to see what those qualities
he mentioned above ARE...read 'is review!
Master Reviewer an' all 'round musical know-it-all
provides afters wif a couple of reviews. First he looks at Darol
Anger and the American Fiddle Ensemble and their new CD Republic
of Strings. Did he like it...whadda you think? 'American
fiddler Darol Anger is just about guaranteed to stretch the boundaries
of whatever style of music he takes on, and this project is no
exception. He's gathered a cross-generation and cross-genre bunch
of acoustic players to explore many varieties of string music
from around the world.' Sounds like it ta me! Then Gary goes
south of the border wif a listen to Heroes
& Horses: Corridos from the Arizona-Sonora Borderlands.
He notes that '...the corrido is just a vital and lively
today as it was 100 years ago, and this collection is a good example
of why that is. Folklore doesn't get much more immediate or passionate.'
Sounds good to me!
Well, that's about it, for music this week. We'll
be back next time wif more from around the world! Ta ta!
Cat Eldridge here. The possum story offered
by Paul Brandon last week is quite true. Really. Truly. Charles
de Lint swears that it actually happened. (He even adds a few
details that I swore I would not repeat.) However a few of you
have asked what this terribly vicious creature looks like, having
obviously never encountered one. So we here at Green Man,
as a public service for those of you concerned about these wild
creatures, have added a photo
courtesy of Paul, who gave it to us with a comment that this was
'the offending beastie'. Now you too know what an Aussie possum
looks like, so you can defend your house against the likes of
22nd of August, 2004
... possums really hate Lapsang Souchong tea
... especially if you shoot them up the date
with a spray gun apparently ...' -- Paul Brandon
Brandon was doing a reading from his new novel The
Wild Reel in the Robert Graves Memorial Reading Room when
he segued into an odd comment: ... possums hate Lapsang Souchong
tea.' Liath ó Laighin almost choked on her hot chocolate
before saying 'Now, now -- Do explain.' So he did ...
Okay, well, you may have noticed that Charles de
Lint has been calling me 'Possum Brandon' in the odd acknowledgment
page; well, this dates back to when I first arrived in Aus and
had trouble identifying a particular creature that would sit,
invisible, at night, and chuckle (actually, this whole sorry,
sorry story made it into The Wild Reel
as a vignette. Alas it's pretty much verbatim in there). The
Tree Beast, we called it.
But when Jules and I moved a couple of years
ago, we found our old house was lair to a family of the beasties,
in the (possum-sized) crawl space between the verandah and the
roof. They'd chewed their way in and were quite happy. Well,
being a general nature loving fellow, I let them be, through
mating, babies, territorial disputes, the lot.
Unfortunately the crawlspace is right next
to our bedroom, and possums can get very ferocious and noisy
(to each other) so there were times when we were getting little
sleep. Being woken in the night by a sound like a pixies wearing
hobnail boots and Riverdancing over one's head isn't particularly
restful. Anyway, babies moved on, life went on etc, but we noticed
that the two possums left were fighting more and more, to the
stage where I expected to see blood dripping from the ceiling.
There was one particular night, about a week ago where I was
feeling very fractured from lack of sleep after a long week
and a gig, when they woke me up and I just went into a wobbly.
I grabbed the broom and was smacking away at the ceiling yelling
out how I was going to stove their furry fecking heads in with
a shovel etc.
Jules and I had to move into the spare room
for a week as things got worse.
Now, I hear you ask, why didn't we just ring
Mr. Possum and get them removed? Well, possum removers have
a habit of trapping them and releasing them away from their
territories where they are promptly killed by bigger, meaner
possums. So I arranged to have a special possum box built and
located in our huge big old tree at the back. The possum box
builder told me that it's very rare for two males to share the
same space, hence all the late night biffo. It's also illegal
now to interfere with them as they're native animals, and have
to be released within fifty metres.
So, the box went up -- I nearly fell out the
tree but that's a whole other crap story....
Yesterday I cut back the chicken wire that
covered the gap under the verandah eve between the roof and
the space (put there to ... yep, you guessed it, stop the possums
getting in -they chewed right through it.) I stuck my head up
there, torch in had, in a scene not too dissimilar to that bit
in Aliens where Hicks looks up through
the trapdoor.... And there were two cat-sized brushtail possums,
looking at me all cute and furry, but with a very belligerent
tinge to their grey fur, as if to say 'whatthefuckdoyouwanthuman'
The general plan was to just let them out to
feed at night, then seal up the hole.
Of course, one of them went out, but the other
wouldn't budge. I sat here until four am waiting, moving at
every skritch of claw on wood, but no, he would not go out.
Little feckhead knew what was going on.
Now for where the tea comes into it....
My coffee roaster friend, Celestica, had a
similar problem and she told me that possums really hate Lapsang
Souchong tea (especially if you shoot them up the date with
a spray gun apparently -- date is a charming Aussie term for
bumhole). So I had a spray gun made up, and was on constant
'date patrol' as the other one kept trying to get back in. It
seems to be true about the tea, but then if someone shot pure
Scottish springwater up my date I'd probably run too.
Enough was enough, and I decided that I'd put
the mesh up and some boards around the gutter to keep the other
one out, then try again tomorrow, when the second would be a
I woke up this morning, and the mesh was all
hanging down. Thinking I'd failed totally, I did the ol' 'head
up the dark' place thing again, only to find them both gone.
What we think happened is the second one waited
till the lights were out then came down, trod on my really crappy
DIY mesh, which promptly collapsed under its weight like a trapdoor
and fell into the bushes. I don't care what happened. They're
gone, and there's something stirring in the box up the tree.
So we're moving back into the main bedroom
tonight, and shall sleep soundly.
When you've stopped giggling over Paul's tale, you
can move on to this week's reviews...
The book section is on hiatus this week, as Maria
Nutick has been dealing with an infestation of sprites
in her office. The brownies in charge of pest control have assured
us that things will settle down in there enough for her to return
to work by Tuesday morning. Last we saw her she was trying to
scribble out reviews longhand while curled up on the couch in
Tim Hoke's office.
Gianelli notes that a well-made video of a performance
can be almost as dynamic as the performance itself. In his review
of Johnny Clegg (with
Savuka and Juluka): Live! And More..., Scott remarks,
'Perhaps, somebody is putting this DVD on for a group of people
with no idea what to expect, even as I write this. They won't
be sitting down for long.' Scott's review picks up an Excellence
In Writing Award.
Accompanied by his beat café ensemble, sixties
'Sunshine Superman,' Donovan brought a touch of warmth to a rather
soggy night at Joe's Pub, New York City. To learn more about Donovan's
tribute to the beat movement read David
of 'a true New York City experience and a show I will not soon
Hardy Senior Writer Peter
Massey, braved the English Folk Festival circuit and returned
with a look at Fairport Convention's gig at Middlewich
Folk and Boat Festival in Middlewich, Cheshire, England. Peter
reports that age has not staled Fairport's infinite variety, and
that 'after the sad loss of Sandy Denny, I remember thinking that
they were probably finished and will have lost that 'magic'. How
wrong I was! They as good today as they have ever been -- and
how!' Click here
to read Peter's review.
Good Sunday morning to one and all. David
Kidney here. SPike
is on well deserved bed-rest after a terrible accident involving
his motorcycle and a rather unfortunate chicken who had escaped
from the coop out back. You'll be pleased to know that SPike is
not badly hurt, but the chicken...well, let's just say our chef
makes marvelous dumplings. Now, on to this week's musical offerings.
The blues is one of my favorite genres, and this week I looked
at a new collection from Lightnin' Hopkins. My absolute favorite
photograph of any blues singer ever was of Lightnin' Hopkins (taken
by Dick Waterman) and this new anthology seems to capture the
same essence of the blues that Dick's photo did! I describe the
album this way...'the kind of stuff you could hear in backwoods
juke joints, and barbecues. There's nothing fancy about it, but
Hopkins has an easy facility with the guitar, and provides his
own rhythm section, even when playing quiet and slow blues. The
music moves. It rolls, and at times it even rocks.' Read
all about Hello
Central: the Best of Lightnin' Hopkins.
Peter Massey writes
about a new album by Last Nights Fun. 'Last Nights Fun is
a band that is renowned for its speed and tightness. So if there
is a theme behind the title Tempered,
maybe its an acknowledgement to their fast virtuoso playing of
jig and reels, and that they have the ability to slow down to
take in more gentle tunes, to show the beauty of the music, thus
making it more discernable.' To see what else he said...check
out the whole review!
Managing Editor Maria
Nutick also adds her two cents worth, with an attention-grabbing
listen to 'Sooj' Tucker's Haphazard.
Did she like it? Well, what do you think? Listen to this rave!
'Fans of [Tori] Amos, [Ani] DiFranco and their ilk should
love Haphazard. I'm not a fan of either, so I'll say this:
when I listen to Sooj Tucker, I don't hear Tori or Ani. I hear
shades of Bessie, Aretha, Janis, Bette -- strong women with potent
personalities and dynamic voices...' She sounds like Bessie,
Aretha, Janis & Bette? Count me in, and turn it up!
was a busy lad this week, writing a review of Maddy Prior's Woman
In The Wings as well as a hat trick of omnis! Three albums
by Celtic ladies start things off. Susan McKeown's Sweet
Liberty, Maria Dunn's For
A Song and The Derry Aires', Cheek
to Cheek (their pun not ours!) are introduced in this
way: 'The female voice is a rounded and versatile instrument.
It can be used to interpret emotions from sources traditional
and contemporary. This selection features singer/ songwriters
interpreting their own works and traditional material, and covers
every hitching post from traditional Irish songs to Jazz standards
and original material.' Interesting, and...they all have
nice Derry Aires too!
Next John compares and contrasts three Celtic groups...well...see
his definition, 'The cerebral aspect of Celtic music whether
it's Irish or Scottish is a well-known and loved side of the repertoire.
Here is an intriguing Celtic mix- from the USA, England, and Canada.
While all these CDs aim for the cerebral end of Irish music, they
don't always make the mark. This set of three Celtic Party Animals
(for want of a better term) offer some degree of fun with one
exception.' Read about these party animals; Sunday's Well,
We Don't Care
Where Your Parents Are From, Sham Rock, Sham
Rock - The Album and The Crofters, Hold
My Beer While I Kiss Your Girlfriend.
The third omni is male soloists Chris Stout with
First O' The Darkenin',
Freeland Barbour's The
Black Water and James Thurgood with Handy
Little Rig. Sounds good too, according to John 'What
does emerge from these three diverse recordings is a wealth of
good music all rooted in their own home places while also acknowledging
the influence and existence of a wider world of sound and style
beyond their native shores.'
Finally Mr. O'Regan reviews Maddy Prior's Woman
in the Wings of which he says, 'Woman in the Wings
marked the beginning of Maddy Prior's public career as a singer/songwriter.
However, the seeds had been sown in Steeleye Span and in future
they would permeate the Steeleye output with a greater magnitude.
This is the first public sighting of that style, and though flawed,
is still a worthwhile effort.'
wraps things up this issue with a look at The Waifs, Up
All Night. Don't know who the Waifs are? Well, read on.
'The Waifs have an interesting back-story, about months and
years spent travelling the byways of their native Australia, playing
in bars and on the streets, honing their skills -- instrumental,
vocal and songwriting. That hard apprenticeship accounts for the
strength of their debut album.'
That's about it for this week. I have to go now.
SPike must have dropped his beer glass, I think I can hear it
rolling around on the hardwood floor. See you next week.
If you're in our vicinity around the end of the
Celtic Year, do drop by the Green Man Pub as Paul has promised
us another tale when he becomes the Oak King this year. Following
on Charles de Lint as
the Oak King last year, it'll be interesting to see what
his tale is.
Also, join us in wishing our esteemed Will
Shetterly many happy returns, as he celebrates his birthday
this very day! Happy Birthday Will!
15th of August, 2004
'Despite predictions that
a technological future would be stark and sterile, the world
we know has become a bright riot. FUBU-clad Latinos stand in
line to see The Lord of the Rings; bonsai trees brighten
cubicles; teenagers toss books on witchcraft into Indian-print
backpacks with Hello Kitty buttons while making plans on their
cell phones to meet at belly-dance class. Polyethnic fashions
draw from every time and place imaginable, and magic stirs pop
culture like some neon witch's brew. The influence of Faerie
is everywhere if you know how to look for it. And even people
who don't believe in that kind of stuff find themselves talking
to computer gremlins when their laptops act up.' -- Phil Brucato,
So here we are putting up another issue of Green
Man Review. I'm Maria Nutick,
Managing Editor of this fine enterprise -- part objective review
'zine, part community of like-minded folks who love good music,
books, and film, and part literary playground for the fertile
minds of those of us who live with half of our consciousness in
that Other Realm.
Two weeks ago, several of us from GMR attended
the Faerieworlds Festival put on by the Frouds and held here in
the beautiful state of Oregon. We met bards, storytellers, artists,
musicians, healers, crafters, and tricksters by the score. From
60's style macrame dresses worn with feathery angel wings to diaphanous
silk concoctions worn with stylized masks, from SCA garb to Renaissance
Faire-wear to improvised barbarian outfits of leather and fur,
we saw folk of every possible belief and tradition. Furries danced
with hippies and witches held peaceful discussions with Hari Krishnas.
Vegans ate side by side with folk making like Henry the Eighth
with barbequed turkey legs.
I'm fairly certain that, if there are true Fey,
if the Border truly does shift and shimmer, that we may have met
some Otherworldly Beings at Faerieworlds. Certainly I noticed
something while wandering amongst the thousand or so folk in attendance.
On a sweltering day, in a dusty venue where the porta-johns, though
plentiful, required a hike up a gravelled hill in the blazing
sun, in an atmosphere where more than one temper may have been
short if not infinitesimal -- in all of that time, I never heard
one cross word spoken. Not one. I witnessed no arguments, no snappish
tempers, no cranky words. Even the children were nearly angelic.
Good luck? Maybe? Magick? Maybe. No matter what
led to this idyllic experience, one thing is certain: this is
what we strive for here at Green Man. This is the situation
we wish to present to you, our readers: an eclectic, slightly
crazy, magickal place where folks of all types can come to learn
about items of interest to us all and mingle with those of like
We hope you enjoy this place beyond the Fields We
Know. We're happy to have you here. Hopefully we can all learn
something from each other.
Our first featured review comes from our experience
at Faerieworlds, and that's the review of the event itself: 'What
the heck's a Faerieworlds Festival, I asked myself when Ryan
and Maria Nutick asked me to go along with them to review this
year's festival. Rebecca
Scott here, and to a certain extent, I'm still wondering.
What was that? Fun, warm, and tiring might be a place to
start, and I'm left with a jumble of impressions that creep into
my dreams at night; when I wake I have trouble separating out
the dreams from memories, even though I know that, while I was
actually at the festival, my experience was pretty mundane.' See
what Rebecca has to say about this year's Faerieworlds.
At Faerieworlds, we ran into Phil Brucato, formerly
of White Wolf and one of the imaginations behind Vampire: The
Gathering and Mage: The Ascension. He has a new RPG
out. But this is far more than a game; it's a story and an enchantment
as well. Rebecca Scott
gives us an Excellence in Writing Award winning review
of the first edition of what some of us old-timey Dungeon's and
Dragons folk feel may be the best game ever. Period. If you don't
get it for the gaming, you'll want to get it for the writing:
After Rebecca, Ryan and I made the rounds of the
festival itself, Gary
Whitehouse attended a special Faerieworlds concert
held in honor of the late great Johnny Cunningham: 'Phil
Cunningham sat alone on the large stage, eyes closed, as he wrung
a slow, sad air from his custom Borsini accordion in memory of
his brother Johnny. The Faerieworlds Festival crowd of several
hundred, which moments before had been boisterously dancing, clapping,
singing and talking, fell silent. The fair-haired Scot said the
tune, which he had never before played in public, was named simply
'Johnny.' It was the first tune of an encore by members of an
all-star band that gathered to pay tribute to Johnny Cunningham,
fiddler extraordinaire, who died in late 2003. The late musician
was remembered by his surviving relatives, friends and fellow
performers as a sweet human being, a stellar player and composer,
and a candidate for 'king of the faeries.'
The night before the festival, Ryan and I attended
a concert by one of our favorite bands, Gaia Consort. We were
pleasantly surprised by their opening act, S. J. Tucker. As I
say in my review
of that show, 'Gaia Consort is one of my favorite bands, and this
show was a wonderful treat to start what turned out to be a magickal
weekend. Discovering Sooj Tucker was truly serendipitous, and
we look forward to seeing all of these wonderful performers again
and again. Any time you get the chance to see either Gaia Consort
or S.J. Tucker, go. Wear your dancing shoes.' Next
week I'll have reviews of S.J. Tucker's new CD Haphazard,
and soon I'll have one of Gaia Consort's new CD Evolve.
Yes, Faerieworlds had so many wonderful surprises...
looks at a work of historical fiction with a Native American focus:
in the Dunes takes place in the first years of the 20th
century, in settings including the American Southwest, Long Island,
Brazil, England, Italy, and the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean.
It follows the intersecting lives and travels of four main characters.'
Sadly for a historical novel, Donna notes that 'the book is also
beset with a number of inconsistencies and lacunae that an editor
should have caught before the manuscript went to press. For example,
Silko took some interesting liberties with history. It's a bit
of a challenge to figure out exactly when the action in the story
takes place, but hints like William McKinley's consideration of
Teddy Roosevelt as a running mate and Utah's recent statehood
suggest shortly after 1897. But if that is the case, she is off
by a few years on the Ghost Dance movement, which peaked in the
early 1890s. California citrus growers began cultivating citron
in the 1880s, so Edward's scheme to bring cuttings back from Corsica
would also be off by a few years. Although Silko never actually
names the dam that is under construction, its location on the
Colorado River near the Parker Reservation and her mention of
the Chemehuevi, Mojave and Havasupai people living in the area
suggest that it must be the Parker Dam, which wasn't built until
'I've nursed a passionate interest in the Arthurian
legends,' says Kelly
Sedinger, 'the Matter of Britain, for years. It's a passion
that has waxed hot and cold since its first kindling, when I found
a worn copy of John Steinbeck's The Noble Acts of King Arthur
and His Knights in a box in the basement. I've read versions
of the legend that deal in wizardry and magic, and I have read
versions that eschew magic entirely for gritty Dark Age realism.
I've read versions of the story in prose, and I've read versions
in verse...No, I don't find much surprising in Arthurian storytelling
anymore, amongst those works purporting to retell the legend itself,
with Arthur as the main character. Where I do find surprises
in store is in the works by authors who choose to work along the
Arthurian periphery, focusing their tales on characters who may
or may not play a role in Camelot, characters who may come to
greatness on their own or who may simply watch the rise and fall
of Camelot's 'one shining moment' from afar. Debra A. Kemp tells
-- or, more accurately, begins -- such a tale in The
Firebrand, which is billed as The House of Pendragon,
Green Man welcomes new reviewer Courtney
Shinaberry, and as her audition review happened to be
of a book that I've been meaning to write up for several years
now, we're publishing the review that got her a position on our
staff. Courtney reviews a brilliant book from Louise Lawrence:
'Sometimes -- perhaps oftentimes -- beautiful little books will
come to you from almost out of nowhere. Such was the case with
this somewhat obscure little gem from author Louise Lawrence,
which I picked up for pennies purely by happenstance at a used
bookstore, drawn to it by both the title and the cover art. But
The Earth Witch
is no quiet, unassuming little book; it is a gritty glimpse through
the lens of a Welsh mythology that is as turgid and loamy and
menacing as a deep wood on All Hallow's Eve.' And Courtney joins
the cadre of GMR reviewers who've earned an Excellence
in Writing Award on their maiden attempt. Congratulations
'In the United States and many other countries,
for a time in the mid- to late-1980s, you couldn't swing a polecat
without hitting something that said Cajun on it. It started with
Cajun cooking, particularly Chef Paul Prudhomme's blackened redfish,
but pretty soon it was a bonafide fad, and you could buy Cajun
everything but pet rocks. The fad ran its course, as all fads
do, in this case leaving behind not much but the music and an
occasional restaurant somewhere in the South Pacific or perhaps
the far North Atlantic or even somewhere in China that still serves
'Cajun' food (which generally means the local food with
a little bit of hot sauce). But what about the people whose identities
were appropriated for the marketing gimmicks? Who are the Cajuns,
and what are their lives really like?' Shane K. Bernard answers
question in his book The
Cajuns: Americanization of a People.
Winn reviews the first in a fantasy series from horror
author Clive Barker: 'Inspired by hundreds of original paintings
which took Barker 6 years to create, Abarat
veritably hums with rich, colorful imagery. Over 100 painting
illustrate the first book alone, and the result is a gorgeously
designed book that entertains the eye as well as the mind. Where
Barker's artwork lacks in artistic sophistication, it makes up
for in stunning, saturated color and sometimes quirky, sometimes
creepy, always fascinating detail. Even the heft of the book is
impressive, as every illustration is in full color. For love of
book design alone, this is a series you will want to collect and
preserve. Happily, the story is every bit as engaging as its cover
promises. Barker has succeeded in creating a wholly original world
here, complete with mythologies and complexities yet to be revealed
in the next three books of the Abarat series.' Sara receives
an Excellence in Writing Award for this fine review.
Wisoker is one of those who share my love of Tove Jansson's
Moomin books, so her enthusiastic review this time out is no surprise:
'For some years, I thought I had managed to net all of the Moominvalley
books that had been translated into English. I was actually pleased
when I discovered that I was missing one, and that Moominvalley
in November was available in English. (Well, maybe 'pleased'
isn't the right word . . . dancing around the house, jumping up
and down, chanting 'moo-min! moo-min!' . . . does that
qualify as 'happy' or as 'obsessed/berserk'?
We all have our weaknesses . . . I make no apology. A previously
unknown Moomin addition to my collection is cause, in my book,
for wild celebration.)'
Self-proclaimed die-hard horror buff
Denise Dutton watched The Village,
despite having been told the 'the big secret' beforehand. In her
Excellence In Writing Award-winning review,
Denise explains why the story wasn't ruined for her. She says,
'Even before the 'big finish' presents itself, there
are developments in the story that can take your breath away.
The fact that this movie plays on several different levels kept
my interest even when things seemed to slow down.'
Letters editor Craig
Clarke here, hoping that you've recovered from your bout
with Friday the 13th in time to peruse our latest collection of
author of the wildly successful Thursday Next series (one of which
I am reading right now), offered up some more of his bright prose
to our mailroom milk can in response to Cat
Eldridge's review of the newest Next novel, Something
Rotten. (Now I ask you, where else can you find the words
'fibreglass facsimile' used about a pig?) Elsewhere, Rebecca
Scott's review of the recently released Kaphtu
Trilogy from author/philosophist Richard Purtill elicited
a fascinating letter from Gord Wilson,
Dr. Purtill's former student and current Web intermediary.
came across Cat's review of The
Maigret Collection during a search for the location where
the series was filmed; she found the answer in the review. In
a similar search, Dierdre Spencer
was seeking a copy of the 1952 film adaptation of T.S. Eliot's
play Murder in the
Cathedral and wrote to ask reviewer Jack
Merry where she could get a copy. Two of our other reviewers
offered helpful suggestions.
Jon Hall found
something amiss in Deborah
Brannon's review of the recent King
Arthur film and wrote in to tell about it, but Katie
de Koster appreciated Grey
Walker's look at Readings
on J.R.R. Tolkien. And Lee
Blankenship (publicist of Maggie Brown) thanked David
Kidney for his review of Brown's debut
And finally, stop me if you've heard this one:
a Canadian goes to Switzerland, where he meets an American musician,
offers to review his
CD, and subsequently gets a 'thank you' letter from the
musician. Punchline? No, just a good story that happened to our
own David Kidney and you can access the resulting
letter, along with the epistolary archives,
from the Letters page.
We appreciate all letters and encourage our readers
to write in to us, whether they think we're morons or want to
tell us what a great job we're doing. So, if you are affected
by the work we do, we ask you to take a few moments to send an
email to the reviewer or the Letters
Kabuki is a traditional Japanese theater form that
combines music, song, spoken dialog, and dance. Kabuki is rarely
seen outside of Japan. April
Gutierrez, Green Man's Senior Writer and Graphic Designer,
seized a rare opportunity when the Japan-America Society of Washington,
D.C. and the Japanese Embassy teamed up to sponsor a one-night-only
performance by one of Japan's most popular troupes, the Nakamura-za.
of this seldom seen (outside of Japan) art form earns her an Excellence
In Writing Award.
Greetings me buckos! SPike
is IN the buildin'!! Anuvver week, anuvver pack of int'restin'
CDs to listen to. I wuz 'angin' about in the mail room an'
you jus' wouldn't believe the number of packages that come
in every @#$%in' DAY! Each one offerin' music from this country
or that nation, folksingers, blues singers, concertina players,
ukulele virtuosos, new stuff, old stuff, poetry, you name
it...we get it! It was so mind-bogglin' I stepped out to the
pub for a pint of Boddingtons an' a packet of crisps! But
our peerless team of reviewers worked through my snack break
an' this is what they've come up with this week!
Senior Writer Scott
Gianelli starts things off with some 'Nordic
folk music!' That's right! Music from @#$%in' Finland!
An' we got it right 'ere! Scott says about Frigg's
CD '...the tunes are catchy, the harmonies are
tight and precise, and the playing is flawless throughout.
It will take more than one album for Frigg to make a serious
claim to the title of standard-bearer of the pelimanni tradition,
but the band has certainly made an encouraging step in that
Master Reviewer and all around blues guru David
Kidney has been holed up in his office playin' some
older Muddy Waters' records for a couple weeks now. He reviews
an' I'm Ready
an' says '[in 1977], Johnny Winter, the albino blues
guitarist from Texas, was peaking, and brought Muddy and his
band to Columbia and Blue Sky records for a series of albums
that would bring Muddy back where he belonged: the top of
the heap. These albums have recently been rereleased on Sony's
Legacy label, with bonus tracks and reconstituted packages...'
He says lots of other fairly in'erestin' stuff too. Read it
for y'self! David also looks at the reissued first album by
that Texas blues guitarist Johnny
Winter! 'It's taken me thirty-five years to fully
appreciate this album, Johnny Winter's first. There was a
major career to come. It's a public service for labels like
Legacy to re-issue these classic albums and I for one commend
them for their good work.' Well, I can only say, Dave's
likin' it a lot better now, 'e's been playin' this thing a
full volume for a week!
anuvver Senior Writer (it means they have their own spot at
the bar!) is a great fan of the English folk tradition. He
writes about a CD by Crucible called Changeling.
'Coming from this part of England, where the 'angst'
folk ballad rules supreme, it is easy to detect very strong
influences from Kate Rusby, Eliza Carthy, The Watersons, and
even the Waterson-Carthy and Steeleye Span camps. So if you
are a fan of these, this album will settle well with you.
All the songs and tunes are presented in a nice acoustic style.'
Not SPike's cuppa but it might be right down your street.
Have a look!
Master Reviewer and associate Music Production Editor/Acquisitions
guy Gary Whitehouse
chimes in wif a couple reviews. Oh, an' all those titles just
mean that the other staff members 'ave to genuflect when they
pass by 'im at the pub! First Gary looks at Kristin Mooney's
CD. He wuz impressed by Ms. Mooney's songs. 'Although
they deal with the usual singer-songwriter subjects -- relationships
and character sketches predominate -- Mooney almost entirely
avoids the usual pitfalls of navel-gazing, obsessive examinations
of emotional states, and lyrical cliches,' an' he liked
the way they sounded too. Gary, (should I say Mister Whitehouse?)
also reviews The Men They Couldn't Hang's new one, The
Cherry Red Jukebox: 'Since re-uniting in 1996
after a five-year hiatus, The Men They Couldn't Hang have
proven that rock isn't just a young men's game or a freak-show
Rolling Stones-style circus. Mature fellows with some real
life experience have something to say, and they can still
by god rawk when they say it.' If they can 'by god
rawk...' then ole SPike wants to give'em a listen.
That's it for this week. Enjoy y'self! Back to listenin' to
The Clash f'r me! Now, where'd I put that pint o' Boddingtons?
There you have it. A collection of reviews as
eclectic and exciting as the Green Man staff or the
amazing attendees of Faerieworlds.
Before we go, I have another promotion to announce.
Wearing the mantle of Managing Editor, Book Editor, and Copy
Editor is just a bit more than I need, considering I do like
to eat and sleep occasionally. Rebecca
Scott, Proofer and Web Minion, has therefore agreed
to step into the Copy Editor position. She'll be in charge
of the proofing team, and I'm sure she'll whip the Editors
into shape when it comes to formatting reviews. I believe
she refers to herself as the Grammar Nazi...Many thanks, Rebecca,
for stepping up to help keep Green Man running smoothly.
You are indeed a treasure.
8th of August, 2004
'You don't understand the humiliation of
it -- to be tricked out of the single assumption which makes our
existence viable -- that somebody is watching... There
we were -- demented children mincing about in clothes that no
one ever wore, speaking as no man ever spoke, swearing love in
wigs and rhymed couplets, killing each other with wooden swords,
hollow protestations of faith hurled after empty promises of vengeance
-- and every gesture, every pose, vanishing into the thin unpopulated
air. We ransomed our dignity to the clouds, and the uncomprehending
birds listened. Don't you see?! We're actors -- we're the
opposite of people!' -- The Player in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern are Dead
Novak here. I'm imagining an I.Q. test or
SAT question that reads, 'Actor is to person as
reviewer is to...' and I'm having a hard time
coming up with the answer. Still, in some ways, I
think I know how The Player feels. He may define
himself as an opposite, but it's hardly a definite
state given the diversity of human nature. There's
a feeling of limbo, one that the reviewer shares.
While an actor interprets, filters the text of
others for the entertainment and amusement of an
audience, a reviewer performs his own act of
distillation, taking a work of art, processing it
and laying it out for all to read.
Perhaps these jobs -- actor and reviewer -- flow
in different, even opposite directions, but they
are both reliant on two things: source material
(i.e. the creation of others) and a willing
audience. Take just one away and their -- our --
very existence loses all meaning and purpose.
Now that's a pretty fatalistic way to look as
things, I admit. If you're reading this, we clearly
needn't worry about our audience. And I have little
doubt that people will continue to create for as
long as they are physically able (it's the quality
of that creation I sometimes worry about, but
that's another story).
Still, there are times when what stops an artist
is not physical, but mental. We review a diverse
array of... well, just about anything here at
Green Man and, unfortunately, just about any
creator, any artist is potentially vulnerable to
some form of writer's block.
Now, as reviewers, we may fault an artist, feel
slighted by him for not giving us that which we
thrive on, no matter how we empathize with his
frustration at not being able to produce. But think
of all those characters just waiting to be written,
all those stories begging to be told. How should
they feel, existing instead in the world of Jasper
Fforde's The Well of Lost Plots, in Lucien's
library in The Sandman or perhaps in some
dusty hexagon of Borges's Library of Babel?
Deprived of entering the world, of being handled,
viewed, experienced or read, they exist only in the
background, as footnotes or subplots or images
partially obscured. They are lost, but the greater
loss is to us all.
Nutick here. Our featured reviews
this week fall under the heading of The Chief's
Summer Reading List. Since all of these books
would be worth featuring in separate issues,
they're all being featured in this issue.
First up is a chapbook from Kage Baker, The
Empress of Mars. Cat
Eldridge says 'I adore Kage Baker and her
literary work. Really. Truly. I've read damn near
everything she's written...She is always brilliant,
and never less than fully entertaining. I thought
she could get no better until Nightshade Books sent
Green Man a chapbook she did called The
Empress of Mars. At a mere one hundred and
three pages, this is one of the best Robert
Heinlein works I've ever read. Oops, I meant Kage
Baker works. Or did I? OK, let me reconcile the
contradiction I just created (somewhat). The
Empress of Mars reads like the best of
Heinlein's short fiction from the golden period of
the 1940s and 1950s. It is so good that I've no
doubt John Campbell would've published it!'
Paul Brandon's new novel, The
Wild Reel, meets with Cat's approval as
well -- as though we expected otherwise,
considering the brilliance to be found in his firs
novel! Cat entwines his review around an interview
with the author himself: 'So the end result is a
comedy of manners with the very Irish Faerie Court
quite a bit more than a little out of place in the
sub-tropical streets of Brisbane, Australia...I
liked this novel as much as the extended look at
Brisbane as I did for the plot as it's rare in
fantasy fiction that one gets a good look at a real
place. What Paul does here in that regard is the
equal of Charles in Medicine Road or Emma in
War for the Oaks.
Speaking of Charles de Lint, his upcoming novel,
Blue Girl (which sits next to my computer
waiting for my attention even as I write this) is
according to Cat 'the finest Young Adult novel I've
read to date.' Considering the enormous amount of
books the Chief has read, I don't think we need to
say anything further.
Finally, we have another sophomore effort from a
writer we already admire. James Hetley wowed us
with The Summer Country, and if you haven't
read that one yet, do it. Cat says so! 'You'll want
to read The Summer Country first before you
dive into Winter
Oak as this is that rarity of sequels, one
that perfectly builds off the previous novel. James
Hetley can be very proud of the story he has
created -- it's that good!'
'In the past few years, it's been pretty much a
given in the fantasy genre that 'The Good Old Days'
refers to ancient polytheistic societies where a
benevolent Goddess ruled supreme, women were
revered because they created life and men were kept
firmly in their place. All this ended when men
figured out that they had a role in conception and
invented monotheism and its stern Gods who kept
women in their place. It's refreshing to
find a book with a slightly different take on
Faith Cormier is speaking of Daughter
of Ireland, by Juilene
She was also surprised by her second review book
this week: 'Ian Pryor's Peter
Jackson: From Prince of Splatter to Lord of the
Rings: An Unauthorized Biography is that
rarity, an unauthorized biography that doesn't
trash its subject. While Ian Pryor was unable to
get Peter Jackson's permission to write about him,
despite efforts over a number of years, he doesn't
seem to hold a grudge, and he still admires Jackson
and his work.'
'In one of my favourite books as a youth (well,
as a pre-teen, really), Madeleine L'Engle's A
Wrinkle In Time, there is a chapter where the
main character, Meg, attempts to describe the sense
of sight to Aunt Beast, an alien creature born
without it. Of course, as Aunt Beast's species has
no concept of this sense, poor Meg fails miserably.
Trying to explain the concept of seeing, of
perceiving objects and colours and realities with
the complex structures of our eyes to a being who
has never experienced it in their life would be a
difficult task for anyone. In his ambitious debut
David Stahler Jr. attempts to do just that.'
Vail doesn't believe that Stahler Jr.
succeeds; find out why not in her well conceived
Wisoker takes a look at a book of folktales
edited by John Bierhorst. Again with the pleasant
surprises: 'When I started writing for Green Man
Review, I thought of myth and folklore as
primarily Irish and Greek, Latin and German. I
suspect that's fairly common in America, but that
view misses several important and fascinating
segments of the world. In Latin
America Folktales, editor John Bierhorst
has gathered together in print a wide variety of
traditional oral Hispanic and Indian stories.'
Kidney, Assistant Music Review Editor,
Music Review Production Editor, CD Acquisitions and
Master Reviewer, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer,
etc., braved the killer air conditioning system at
Hamilton, Ontario's Casbah Club to hear one of
Rock's great might-have-beens, Pete Best, 'the man
who put the beat in the Beatles,' (and the man who
was replaced by Ringo Starr). In his enthusiastic
David says Pete Best and his band provide 'a solid
ninety minutes of rock'n'roll fantasy, a bit of
history, and a vocal workout.'
Christopher White chart the course of a
rising new star in their review of Argentinean
singer Juana Molina. Molina, who appeared as the
opening act for David Byrne, 'delivered a
compelling set with great poise and good humor,'
while Byrne presented a 'magical set' that was 'an
unadulterated treat.' Read Barb and Christopher's
to learn more about how David Byrne
'discovered' Ms. Molina.
Master Reviewer Gary
Whitehouse enjoyed 'a night of sublime
'desert noir'' courtesy of the Arizona-based band,
Calexico, performers of 'desert-tinged rock music
with shades of mariachi, folk, country and
Afro-Cuban jazz.' Click here
for his review. Ole!
Dave is busy at playin' the new guitar 'is wife
bought 'im in New York City, so 'e asked me to do
this for 'im t'day! SPike's the name, loud
rock'n'roll the game. Do we 'ave any of that this
week? Let's 'ave a browse...
Music editor Kim
Bates leads off wif her look at a trio of
discs which each feature, in some way, Steve Riley
& the Mamou Playboys. Kim claims to be a 'big
fan' of these blokes and says, 'one thing...ties
these albums together. Bon Reve is the group's most
recent release, and [Steve and the] Boys
figure prominently on the two compliation discs
reviewed here. The other thing the discs have in
common is some great music that is an absolute
pleasure.' One thing we're always up for at
Green Man is some @#$%in' great music so
don't miss Kim's omni-review of The
Rough Guide to American Roots: original roots
legends of the USA, Putumayo
Presents Cajun an' of course Steve Riley
and the Mamou Playboys' Bon
Gianelli joins the fray wif an
Excellence in Writing Award winning review
of some some Swedish music -- an anthology of
Hedningarna's greatest hits. Scott says that
1989-2003 does serve the primary purpose of
any compilation album, in that it reveals to the
listener what Hedningarna is all about...the
quality, uniqueness, and ferocity with which
Hedningarna plays Scandinavian folk music simply
cannot be denied...' and that's @#$%in' good enough
My office mate David
Kidney also looks at three discs today, but
each one individually! First up, it's some country
music called The
Whole Enchilada 'bout which Dave says,
'We're a couple generations past the Band, the
Burrito Brothers and the Amazing Rhythm Aces but
their presence is felt in the earthy, American
sound of Burrito Deluxe.' As always, he said a lot
more, read about Burrito Deluxe for the...whole
#$%&in' enchilada! Then Dave listens to a blast
from the past...the hipster folksinger Donovan 'as
a new one, that Dave picked up at Joe's Pub. He
likes it so much it's been on the CD player ever
since he got back! He recommends that you '...order
a copy of beat
cafe for yourself, slip into a black
turtleneck, pull your beret down, and snap your
fingers cats and kittens! The beat generation will
never die! ' Wot a wacky guy that Dave is. He looks
even further back in 'istory wif his third review.
Virginia Blues is but one disc from a
multi-volume set with the series title When the
Sun Goes Down: The Secret History of Rock &
Roll. This collection of early country classics
seeks to provide the discriminating listener with
the original versions of songs that have been
recorded by a variety of contemporary musicians.
Dave really gets into this 'istorical stuff .
Peter Massey weighs in wif folk-singer Peter
Coe's new CD Paper
Houses. He says, 'This album has a wealth
of very interesting material that is certainly well
worth hearing. Pete has done some research and come
up with several different versions of traditional
songs that may not have been recorded before. I
have no hesitation in recommending you get this
album; its good -- very good.' Give it a read
and see wot you think!
Me pubmate Jack B. Merry 'ad this to say about
Shane McGowan's Popes new one Across
the Broad Atlantic. 'Go buy this fuckin'
album, get yourself several pints of Guinness, and
sing along off-key as you listen to one of the best
St. Patrick's Day concerts you'll ever hear.'
Sounds like it's right down my street! Every'thin'
sounds better after a pint of Guinness, or
More Celtic music is recommended by Kelly
Sedinger in 'is Excellence in Writing Award
winning review of three CDs by Hair of the Dog:
the Hounds, At
the Parting Glass, and Let
It Flow. 'Music such as that performed by
Hair of the Dog seems to be an undercelebrated part
of the whole Celtic music vibe. These types of
Irish bar bands may not produce the most authentic
music, and they may not produce the most original
music, but a lot of time, they're the ones
producing the most fun music.' An' try it wif a
M. Tilendis sits at the opposite end of the
pub from me'n Jack. He seems friendly enough but
'e's always listening to slightly different music.
Today he discusses the music of composer Morton
Feldman. 'These are two remarkable works
Chapel & Why
Patterns?] by one of America's most
noteworthy composers. They are ethereal, energetic,
thoughtful, and yet possessed of a kind of earthy
reality. Their intellectual underpinnings, which
are formidable, become invisible, and one is simply
left with an event that is out of the ordinary.
Hearing them is an engaging and enlightening
experience...' Hmmm. Makes ya think, don't it!
Finally Gary Whitehouse looks at Stand
by a group called The Kennedys. Gary opines, 'The
Kennedys' music is similar in tone to that of the
late great Dave Carter, except that it leans closer
to the electric jangle of The Byrds than Carter's
acoustic folk approach. But thematically, it covers
much of the same ground as Carter did with his
partner Tracy Grammer: small-town life,
life-as-spiritual-quest, open-eyed love and respect
between the duo, and a solid grounding in American
musical traditions.' For more of this in depth
coverage read Gary's review!
That's about it for this week in Music, now pass
me anuvver Guinness, and turn up that Shane McGowan
So, you see, in this great chain that begins with creation and
ends with you, the reader, we all have a great responsibility. Just
as the actor can also become a viewer or creator, many of us here
at Green Man are also readers, viewers, listeners, overall
appreciators, as well as writers, painters, musicians, artists.
For us the feeling of responsibility looms around every corner and
of its presence we are ever aware. For our lives are spent in a
kind of limbo -- whether we take on one role or many -- but we wouldn't
trade that for anything in the world.
1st of August, 2004
'A bodyless voice
said, 'Madam, may we offer you breakfast? We are proud of
our Harvest Brunch: a lavish bowl of fresh fruits, a tray
of cheeses; a basket of freshly baked hot breads, crisp breads,
and soft breads with jams and jellies and syrups and Belgian
butter. Basted baby barlops en brochette; drawn eggs
Octavian, smoked savannah slinker; farkels in sweetsour; Bavarian
strudel; your choice of still and sparkling wines, skullbuster
Strine beer, Mocha, Kona, Turkish, and Proxima coffees, blended
from Robert Heinlein's To
Sail Beyond the Sunset
More Midnight Wine? A bit of smoked savannah
slinker? Some snow-white strawberries from the
other side of that Border? What tickles your
fancy this fine morning?
I was eating a very late breakfast with a few
other Green Man staffers after a late night
of trading truths, half truths, and outright lies
over a poker game which Jack Flanders -- who
had dropped by on his way to yet 'nother adventure
-- had started when he walked into the Pub,
when a stranger walked in and took a seat nearby.
There was nothing unusual about him until over his
second cup of Sumatra he said that he was the last
King of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire... Who were
we to disagree? What profit was there in doing
Mind you, he was dressed all in black with a
smart cut to his slightly old-fashioned clothes and
a haughty demeanor of one to the Manor born, but
that said little to who he was, and we've heard far
stranger statements made here by much odder looking
individuals. Now I know that most historians claim
that Charles I succeeded to the Austro-Hungarian
throne during The First World War, and that he
abdicated from it a short time later in 1918 when
the Armistice took effect and the war ended with
the surrender of the Central powers to the Allies.
Historians further say he died five years later
-- a mortal lifetime ago. Our visitor, Karl
by name, rejected that history with an angry shake
of his head. Indeed Bela, our resident Balkan
violinist, has also claimed for years that he was
born in the Austrian-Hungarian Empire!
One of the poker players shrugged her shoulders
-- I think it was Zina who was playing on her
fiddle a spritely set of tunes, 'Never Wed a
Hendrake Lass / Hangman's Reel / Midsummer's Night'
-- and asked him to tell his story. So over
the course of that morning, he told us tales of
Empires lost and regained, of parties so lavish
that vassal states were impoverished to keep the
festivities going, of a lover who betrayed him for
a handful of silver, of another lover who risked
everything for him, of mad priests who couldn't be
killed, and many more tales.
He drained his tankard of skullbuster Strine
beer, picked up his walking cane, and said in his
faintly accented English that it was time to catch
a train back to His Imperial Capital. Bela bowed
deeply to him as he turned toward the door, and
that was the last we saw of him -- but he
left behind 'nough stories for lifetimes...
Nutick here. In my capacity as Book
Editor, I get to edit a lot of fabulous work. In my
new capacity as Managing Editor, I get to make some
happy announcements. So before we get to our
featured reviews, we have a promotion to
We have, over the years, elevated a very select
few reviewers to the status of Master Reviewer. In
order to attain this status, a writer must have
consistently provided us with outstanding work;
insightful, sharp, brilliant writing that we're
proud to publish. Our newest Master Reviewer is
witty, erudite, and turns in work that is both
technically sound and overwhelmingly entertaining.
So we're very happy to elevate Rachel
Manija Brown, and thank her for her
invaluable contributions to Green Man
Now, on to our features...
Brazil takes an Excellence in Writing
Award for his look at James Lovegrove's 'tale
of two people in a broken future version of
England'. He says of Untied
Kingdom: 'The depth of characterisation
presented, in both the lead characters and all
those they encounter, is top notch stuff. Lovegrove
writes with a flowing, easy to read style, big on
realistic dialogue, sharp descriptive, and
Reviewing our featured film, Deborah
Brannon explains 'I love Arthurian legend
to bits, though it's been a long time since I went
through my last intense Arthurian phase. I've never
minded all the many reinterpretations of Arthurian
legend either. I've read some rather good books
that completely changed the story around, but that
I still felt had some merit for perpetuating
Arthurian myth.' With this outlook, she went to see
the recent release, King Arthur.
She was disappointed, remarking 'this film makes
four major mistakes: its name, its use of legend,
its claim toward historical accuracy, and the story
itself.' What does that leave? Deborah picks up
both an Excellence In Writing
Award and a Grinch Award
for the grievances aired in her review.
White is raving in his Excellence in
Writing Award winning commentary about a
Belgian CD called BUBINGA.
Well, in a nice sort of way, so let's listen in:
'Irresistible ... infectious ... inspired ... In an
alternative universe, one where American radio
isn't dominated by a tiny number of cautious
corporate giants, one where music need not come
from NYC, LA, or Nashville to be considered
acceptable for airplay, in that universe you'd see
teens and geezers alike from Portland to Peoria to
the other Portland wearing (BUB) tee shirts. As it
is, I can only turn to you, a music savvy
GMR reader, and suggest that you surf on
over to (BUB)'s web site or the site of their
label, Wild Boar Music and order your own t-shirts,
baseball caps or (better yet) CDs. You'll need a
Belgian translator to help with (BUB)'s site, but
it's worth it.'
Newly minted Master Reviewer Rachel
Brown shows again why she's attained that
status with her review of Melissa Wyatt's
Raising the Griffin: 'Getting free books by
my favorite authors isn't the only reason I enjoy
writing reviews for Green Man, though it's
hard to beat a hot-off-the-presses advance reading
copy of Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman or China
Mieville's latest work. But being a staff reviewer
occasionally provides me with the pleasure of
volunteering to review a random book by a new
author or one I've never heard of before, on a
subject which holds no inherent interest for me,
dutifully beginning it, and becoming so caught up
in the story that I forget that I'm reading it for
any reason but my own enjoyment. That was the case
Cormier reviews an enticing book by Suza
Scalora: 'The story of The
Witches and Wizards of Oberin is more a
vignette than a novel, but that doesn't really
matter. The important part isn't the story, which
is really confined to the first couple of pages and
the last page of the book, but the pictures. The
titular witches and wizards are the subjects of
photographs in stunning colour -- the closest
thing I've ever seen to literally living colour...
It's hard to describe the photographs, or the
persons in them. They aren't the sort where the
longer you look the more details you see. It's more
that the longer you look the more you realize there
are no details, just swirling, spiraling colours
sucking you down into an any-colour-but-black
Just returned from wedding and honeymoon (and
congratulations again!) is Lory
Hess, with the first U.S. printing of a
Diana Wynne Jones novel published a decade and a
half ago in England: 'The writing of Diana Wynne
Jones normally seems to me without age limits. I've
recommended the same title to eight-year-olds and
fifty-eight-year-olds with complete confidence in
their enjoyment. But with Wild
Robert, Jones is clearly writing for a
younger audience. Children who struggle a bit with
reading on their own, and are not yet ready for
Jones' more complex and subtle works, will be able
to manage this relatively straightforward
Scott thoughtfully lead off with warnings
to introduce her review this week: 'If you have not
yet seen the movie based on this comic, and you
think you might like to, I strongly suggest that
you go and watch it before reading either this
review or the book. Partially this is because,
while the movie is entertaining on its own, it's a
completely wretched adaptation of the book; but
more importantly, the book takes a completely
different approach to the story, and reveals in
Chapter Three the name of the killer. A second
warning about this book: It is extremely
graphic, far more so than the movie, not only in
the details of the killings, but sexually as well.
Intercourse is repeatedly depicted in scenes which,
if filmed, could not be found outside of adult
movies. This is a book for adults, a graphic novel
in more than one sense. It is not for those who
have weak stomachs. Having issued my warnings, I
now feel free to discuss From Hell in
detail.' There, now for you faint of heart types,
there'll be tea served in the dining room. Everyone
else, go read her review of Alan Moore and Eddie
Campbell's graphic novel From
Lynch wasn't thrilled by a recent film. 'If
all you need in a movie is Halle Berry in a tight,
revealing leather outfit cracking a whip, stop
reading this right now and go see
Catwoman. If you care about
anything else in a movie - like plot, acting,
originality, or excitement - see anything else.'
Ouch! James' review
gains a Grinch Award.
Reynard at your service. I got drafted to write
musical commentary this outing as David, Jack, and
SPike have settled into the film room to watch the
DVD version of the Woodstock film. SPike claims
that there's a shot of him covered in mud giving
the Aussie national salute somewhere towards the
end of the film...
Now on to the reviews...
The Blues on Shave
'em Dry: The Best of Lucille Bogan found
favour in the ear of Craig
Clarke: 'Every track on Shave 'em
Dry is a winner. Bogan's multi-faceted voice is
entrancing and familiar. Combine that with Roland's
rolling (if seemingly limited) piano style, and you
have a collection of bawdy foot-tapping tunes. If
there were justice in the music world, the name
Lucille Bogan would be as famous as Bessie Smith
and Ma Rainey and this release is Legacy's way of
adding another opportunity for that to happen.'
Craig gets an Excellence in Writing Award
for this Bluesy review!
Craig also looked at a upcoming
singer-songwriter: 'An EP is often an ideal way to
experiment with a new artist, offering an
alternative to the full CD at a cheaper price.
Leaves is a four-song offering of soothing
folk from Seattle singer-songwriter Rachel
Harrington. The CD cover is very evocative of the
title, with a double exposure of a black-and-white
Harrington with her guitar over a colorfully
leaf-strewn autumn sidewalk.' He found her work to
be a bit boring, but read his review to see why you
can decide for yourself if this is so!
On the other hand, Einstein's
Brain (!) is an EP that Craig liked: 'It's
an example of a successful EP-as-marketing-tool.
There is enough material to be representative of
Nathan Caswell's musical output, but not so much
that the listener tires of the alternating of funny
and serious that seems to showcase the two varying
sides of his personality. That makes it easy to
decide whether to hit play again or to leave it for
the moment. Personally, I don't hesitate.'
Condon picks up an Excellence in Writing
Award for his detailed look at People
On The Highway - A Bert Jansch Encomium:
'If you are an admirer of Jansch and his music or
if you are a fan of the scene onto which he
erupted, the London of the 1960s, with clubs like
the Troubadour and Les Cousins attracting not just
a new generation of British folk and blues
performers determined to make their own music but
even exotic visitors such as Bob Dylan and Paul
Simon, you will find much to please you on these
two discs. They demonstrate the love and admiration
that BJ inspired in his own generation and also the
influence and affection that can still be
discovered in later and more widely scattered
Cliff Furnald at cdRoots
was kind enough to send us a review copy of
Triakel's new CD, Sånger
från 63º N, which Cat
Eldridge quickly claimed: 'Emma
Hårdelin is a Goddess. Really. Truly. Go read
our reviews of her vocal work with Garmarna and
you'll see what I mean. Just consider what Kim
Bates had to say in reviewing their last CD,
Hildegard von Bingen: 'the fiddle lines are
wonderful throughout this album, conveying what the
beauty in these sophisticated melodies, grabbing
the heart of the melodies and blending effortlessly
with Hardelin's voice. The hurdy-gurdy provides the
drone that almost certainly accompanied these
melodies in Hildegard's time. But it must be said
that a great deal is resting on Hardelin, and that
she delivers magnificently.' I think that she is
indeed one of a select group of female Nordic
vocalists whom the ancient Nordic deities blessed
with magic! (The other two are Lena Willemark of
Frifot and Jenny Willhelms of Gjallarhorn.) Liking
the music of Garmarna more than just a bit, I was a
bit hesitant to hear what she sounded like in
another group as I was afraid that it might not
equal the work she did in that group. Happily, I
was wrong, quite wrong.'
Tells Tales gets the thumbs up from
Massey: 'Sometimes referred to as Roots
Rock or Power Folk a mixture of Blues and Country
Rock, this album by Tony Denikos makes a compelling
sound and holds your attention. Coming from the
Baltimore - Washington area of the U.S.A., he was
formally known as Tony De but has now decided to
use his full name. No matter what he's called, it
was a pleasure for me as this is the first time I
have heard him sing.'
Merry has nothing but good things to say
about Loened Fall's Gouez
- À l'état sauvage. How good
is it? Let's him tell us: 'The very short answer to
what I think of Gouez - À l'état
sauvage is that it is the most energetic Breton
CD I've heard. Really. Truly. Nothing I've heard to
date comes even close! ' An Excellence in
Writing Award goes to our fiddler for this
Steve Reel's Celtic
Knights and The Unfortunate Rakes'
Alive! fared well in the hands of Mike
Stiles: 'These two CDs are benchmarks in
the glorious growth of the guitar in Celtic music.
I encourage those readers who haven't yet checked
out the Celtic scene to do so by diving into these
two recordings. For the rest of you, we'll be
calling up some old friends to help put these
artists in the limelight they deserve.' Mike gets a
well-deserved Excellence in Writing
According to Robert
Tilendis, in his Excellence in Writing
Award winning review, Rímur:
A Collection From Steindór Andersen
'is not music I can recommend for your next party,
but for students, scholars, and those fond of
traditional musical and/or literary forms from
around the world, it is an intriguing survey.' Read
his review to see what this is about this ancient
Nordic music that lead him to this conclusion!
Rick Shea and Patty Booker's Our
Shangri-LA was a winner for Gary
Whitehouse: 'If you thought nobody was
making Bakersfield-style honky-tonk music any more,
guess again. Rick Shea and Patty Booker and their
superb backing band will take you back to the
heydays of the '60s and '70s, when Buck and the Hag
were kings and there was a true alternative to the
Nashville sound. This one's as real and honest as
the day is long.'
Cordelia's Dad is, according to Gary in
Excellence in Writing Award winning review,
'an indie-rock band, punk if you will, whose
members have an ongoing love affair with really
old-time American music. Throughout the 1990s they
produced a series of albums that swung from punk to
acoustic old-time and unaccompanied shape-note
songs. On a hiatus that has extended since around
the turn of the millennium, their most recent
release is What
it is, a pastiche of tracks from three
different sessions with two different producers, in
1997 and 1999.' Did it tickle his fancy? Oh, indeed
it did. Go read his review to see why!
Gary found Norwegian Stian Carstensen's
Into the Backwoods CD to be' like a series
of private jokes or musical exercises; missing is
much of the manic energy and playful inventiveness
of Farmer's Market that invites the listener to
join in the joke. Less zany, more cerebral,
Backwards is less accessible than
Carstensen's other work.'
Gary was a bit disappointed by Jim Lauderdale
and Donna the Buffalo's Wait
'Til Spring. Despite the impressive talents
of both parties, 'The team-up of Lauderdale and the
Buffalos has some promise, but it goes largely
unfulfilled on Wait 'Til Spring.
Lauderdale's usual lyrical gifts seem to have fled,
leaving him with a kind of hippie-dippy mush that's
sadly all too common among jam bands. To be sure,
there are a lot of nice touches on nearly every one
of this album's 11 tracks, but overall, everything
fuses into a sunny but formless glop after a
Peggy Seeger's Heading
For Home fared much better than Wait
'Til Spring in Gary's estimation: He says his
words do not do 'does justice to the simple and
elegant beauty of Peggy Seeger singing these
timeless songs. This is an album that all lovers of
traditional Anglo-American folk songs should
Who won the poker game? Damned if I know. I'm
not sure that anyone cared who won by the time the
final hand was dealt. Certainly no one pretended
that they were going to try to take home the
strange silver coins that Jack Burton, weary from
too many miles on the road and longing to see
Gracie Law, had tossed on the table as his
contribution to the pot. It certainly wouldn't be
half as fun as it is if we did care who won! Even
the Devil 'imself doesn't gamble with us with
anything for stake -- just ask Old Scratch
about the Neverending Session fiddler who won a pot
of gold and immortality from him in a game of more
or less honestly played poker. Well, that's what
the fiddler claimed anyway...
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2004, The Green Man Review.
All Rights Reserved.
courtesy of Clipart.com
Updated 29 Aug 2004 07:30 GMT (MN)