Subject: Rolling Down to Old Maui Review
Date: May 20, 2005
I recently read a review you wrote about the album Rolling Down to Old Maui featuring Jolly Jack and friends. I found your review very unprofessional; your distaste for folk music turned the review into an attack on folk music and not a review of the actual artists. You may dislike sea shanties but that doesn't mean that the harmonies weren't impressive or that the music wasn't stirring and emotive.
I know that Jolly Jack were a highly-respected folk group and that many people who like this genre would have been impressed with this album. Every type of music has a particular target audience and won't always appeal to the masses, but that doesn't change the quality of the material. I know how carefully the songs were researched and how much feeling went into each song, how carefully the harmonies were worked on, and how good as musicians and singers they were live.
My dad, Dave Weatherall, passed away about 18 months ago and since then they have held two tribute nights for him. The first night, so many folksingers turned up that they didn't all get to sing, and the evening went on until two in the morning; the second, only a few were allowed to play to stop the evening going on too late again. That just shows how he was respected as a musician.
Listen to the quality of his voice and to Alan and Martin's. Not liking something doesn't make it bad quality. I don't like rap music or R'n'B, but I appreciate that there are many talented artists out there in those genres. Hopefully you'll be more open-minded when you do your next reviews.
Yours faithfully, Poppy Weatherall
David Kidney replies:
Sorry you didn't care for my review. In fact, I am an old folkie from way back and I certainly don't have a "distaste for folk music." I just reread the review and I think I gave it a pretty fair and balanced review. I do mention that the CD "...features good singing, and the melodious wheeze of the concertina." I said it was too much of a good thing, "...such an abundance of riches that what could be treasure seems like fool's gold!" Does this sound like I have a "distaste for folk music?" I say, "Folk music is a raw and personal form..." and go on to give a couple of examples. And then I concluded by saying I prefer listening to the Watersons or the Chieftains than listening to this album.
Sorry to upset, but I could've been just plain nasty...the response I got playing this album to others was almost violent. I didn't mean any disrespect to your father. As a player myself, I'm well aware that not everyone has the same taste I do.
Poppy Weatherall responds:
I just felt that I needed to make the point that, whilst reviewing this particular CD, I found it inappropriate that you were discussing peoples' modern opinions of folk music. That is irrelevant to the quality of the CD and should not have been included in the review. I would hope that those comments were included in all the folk records you reviewed, as it was the genre you were criticising, not the CD.
Thank you for taking the time to reply to me.
Subject: Review of Alexander C. Irvine Book
Date: May 12, 2005
Hello, just a note from Alex Irvine's aunt, Mary Irvine.
I noticed that your Green Man magazine has, under a review of one of my nephew's books [A Scattering of Jades], a picture of a sprig of holly leaves. It just happens that holly leaves are a major element in the Irvine crests granted from the time of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland. The Bruce was once taking sleep refuge under some holly bushes during a time of long battles and was guarded by a William de Irvine, thus the reason for the holly leaves in all seven of the Irvine Crests. Just thought this might be of interest and fun as well.
Subject: "Last Kiss"
Date: April 19, 2005
Ran across your article and thought I would give you a tad bit of info in case you write again concerning the subject.
Wayne recorded "Last Kiss" twice (Gala & King) with the first recording having sound effects of a car crash. No action here as the owner of the tiny Gala label then sells his publishing and his contract on Wayne. His next recording at King is far more professional, with session players and a nice back-up group. Since Wayne was a soul singer, he ended up on King who were not into teeny pop numbers, resulting in no promotion.
Wayne then peddles his 45s on his own, with some copies ending up on an Odessa radio station where Sonley Roush, of Midland (26-year-old indie record producer with ties to another larger producer, Bill Smith, Ft. Worth) hears the number on the radio. In '62, Sonley had booked our group (Cav) a couple of times and was impressed by Frank's singing (Frank was just a member of the group under a 3-year exclusive contract with me). Wayne's vocal performance (my opinion) was not up to par for that kind of song. Our group took Wayne's record and copied it note for note.
I don't believe there was any intent to beat Wayne to the punch as his release wasn't going anywhere with no promotion being on King. Wayne eventually gets the most bucks by being the writer (Wednesday, Pearl Jam, Cav). For your info, the flip side of "Last Kiss" (by Cav) had been an Eddy Arnold-penned and -published country hit back in 1946 that Sonley Roush claimed writer credits along with publishing (he was a shyster)...later got sued big time.
My personal opinion is this: after laying down the sound track, Wayne should have spent more time polishing his vocals plus moving to a different label.
Take care, Sid Holmes
Subject: French folklore
Date: April 12, 2005
Do you or anyone in your network of folklore contacts know about French folklore? More specifically, northern Acadian (i.e., Maine) folklore; even more specifically, folklore regarding the alder tree? I've found some stuff on the Web and in my own reference library, but I'd be interested in knowing if there's a nice obscure source out there, either on the Web or in print.
Merci beaucoup, Liz
Subject: Blondie Chaplin
Date: April 6, 2005
I have just seen your article about my uncle and I just wanted so say it's so true!!
Uncle Terry is my mom's first cousin. Most of my family still live in South Africa, but I have since moved to the UK. My great aunt (Blondie's mom) passed away the year before last and Uncle Terry and Steve Fataar sang at the graveside. It was beautiful.
Many thanks, Clarise Clarivette-Jacob
Subject: Bawdy Ballads
Date: March 11, 2005
In searching for information on traditional bawdy ballads and the like I encountered one of your reviews that made it clear you know something of the subject. What I am hoping to find are sources for such ballads which might have discreet enough lyrics to be publicly shared so the 'youngers' won't know why the elders are laughing. If no suitable selections exist, I will gladly settle for racier ones -- the really blunt ones for personal/semi-private consumption and subtler ones as possible public offerings.
The re-creation group I am involved with covers the period of 500 A.D. to 1603 A.D. so it would seem the materials in your review may be post-period. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
By the way, I agree that Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series is excellent. I also find Charles de Lint a lively read - and an interesting gent to speak with. Not every author/musician carries a sock monkey named Sam with him....
I am glad to have stumbled across Green Man Review and expect I shall return often!
Lenora Rose replies:
"The Bonny Black Hare" is relatively safe, being all couched in metaphors. (Best known by Steeleye Span, but Jim Moray also did a rendition).
The other three I can think of off the top of my head ("The Widow of Westmorland's Daughter," "The Fair Maid of Islington," and the I'm-not-sure-if-it's-trad-but-boy-is-it-a-naughty ballad "The Bastard King of England") are too explicit - the first one doesn't refer to much besides the maidenhead in clear terms, but there's a lot of context.
Peter Massey responds:
The best thing this guy can do is root out any old albums by Hamish Imlach, Bob Williamson, Bernard Wrigley, and John Connolly for best. For the really old traditional stuff, get his hands on E.F.F.D.S.S. folk song books Seed of Love, Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, Gardeners Gay, Marrowbones, and perhaps Bawdy Barrack Room Ballads.
Vonnie Carts-Powell replies:
Jim Moray also sings "Cuckoo's Nest" which teenagers will get but younger ones probably won't. It's listed as trad, anyway.
Liz Milner responds:
First off, "the youngers" never listen to "the elders," so you have nothing to worry about.
Richard Dyer-Bennet is a great source although many people find his ultra-high tenor (imagine a 33 rpm played at 78 rpm) hard to take. Most notable is 1610, a collection of very rude songs inspired by Mark Twain's story of Queen Elizabeth I and her Court. Dyer-Bennet's recordings are available through Smithsonian Folkways.
He also was a very fine guitarist who was way ahead of his time. He had the bad luck to run afoul of the House Un-American Activities people which pretty much sunk his career. It also left him free to record whatever he wanted on his own dime since no record label would give him a contract. As a result he could be as bawdy as he liked (in a refined, art song manner).
Martin Carthy did "Bonny Black Hare" on Byker Hill (Polygram, 1967). A.L. Lloyd's Bird In the Bush (with Anne Briggs and Frankie Armstrong) is a fine collection of erotic English ballads. Ed McCurdy released The Best of Dalliance a long, long time ago.
Lisa L. Spangenberg replies:
This is probably not exactly what is meant by "ballad," but from the English Renaissance -- based, I think, on a scurrilous passage from the memoirist Aubrey to a tune set by Henry Purcell -- there's "Sweet Sir Walter." In Aubrey's prose:
"[Raleigh] loved a wench well; and one time getting up one of the Mayds of Honour up against a tree in a Wood ('twas his first Lady) who seemed at first boarding to be something fearful of her Honour, and modest, she cryed, sweet Sir Walter, what doe you me ask? Will you undoe me? Nay, sweet Sir Walter! Sweet Sir Walter! Sweet Sir Walter! At last, as the danger and the pleasure at the same time grew higher, she cryed in the extasey, Swisser Swatter Swisser Swatter."There are also the bawdy songs of Thomas D'Urfey, including "My Thing is My Own." There's a CD My Thing Is My Own: Bawdy Songs of Thomas D'Urfey on the Koch International Classics label.
And The Art of the Bawdy Song, which includes "Sweet Sir Walter," under the title "Sir Walter enjoying his damsel." It's on the Dorian label.
Subject: Enjoyed your review
Date: March 4, 2005
Greetings from Switzerland.
An acquaintance of mine was looking for information on Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant (although he didn't know their names, much about them, or anything else).
As a long-time professional bassist/guitarist (born in 1953), I had had some exposure to their music and somewhat more to their reputations.
A Web search led me to your review of the two compilations and I really appreciated the fact that it was not only enjoyable and well written, but also contained the sort of information necessary for choosing whether or not to order an album.
I forwarded the review to my friend (he's Swiss/British) and he felt the same way. I know from personal experience that when we send anything out into the world in published form (print or electronic) that we don't always know who's listening.
Thanks again for good writing, passion for the subject, and useful information.
With best wishes, Stephen Ferron
Date: March 10, 2005
Thank you very much for this wonderful review! I really appreciate the good things you say. Can I quote parts of this in promo? Also, can I put a link on my Web site to this review on your site?
Thank you again and again!!
Cat Eldridge responds:
As Molly Bloom said, yes and yes and I said yes! Just credit GMR in any promo you do, please.
Subject: "the music of Princess Ka'iulani..."
Date: March 7, 2005
Greetings, Mr. Kidney -
By "accident", I recently came across your online article in Green Man Review about 'ukulele music, and couldn't help but note your mention of "the music...of Princess Victoria Ka'iulani." I haven't yet heard John King's recording "Royal Hawaiian Music", but my curiosity here is definitely raised; I'm assuming the discs actually included a mele in Ka'iulani's honor, as -- so far as I've ever been made aware -- no compositions by the ill-fated Princess (who died at age 23) are known to exist.
Could you offer clarification here? It is more likely, if the compositions are all royal, that a piece invoking Ka'iulani's name was written either by her Aunt, Queen Lili'uokalani, or her equally ill-fated Uncle, Prince Leleiohoku. You do mention Na Lani Eha. The Princess' Mother, Miriam Likelike, was a prolific composer, but Ka'iulani of all the Kalakaua dynasty seems to have been more personally oriented towards visual art (painting) than music -- despite being proficient instrumentally and as a singer.
Enjoyed your article.
me ke aloha, Mindi Reid
Subject: Thanks for all the support
Date: March 5, 2005
I really want to thank you for all the support you've shown NorthernBlues Music! Your reviews have been terrific.
Of course, I try hard to come up with new and interesting ideas for NorthernBlues releases. Please don't be too unkind should you not like something we release in the future. I'm trying as hard as I can to release just top quality stuff...
Thanks again... next up is a new Mem Shannon CD in April.
Subject: Your Review on Collector by Fowles
Date: March 2, 2005
I just finished reading this marvelous book [The Collector] and went to the Internet to see what other people say. I think you misunderstood what the author wanted to express.
Unfortunately, the pace slows at this point as Miranda goes deeply into the history of a past relationship. I found this tedious and felt these sections should have been cut. A story like The Collector works best the shorter it is and, even at just 300 pages, a little trimming could have improved this novel immensely.It's not about whether Miranda survives or not. She was doomed from the very beginning. Frederick was hinting at that, and still he sounded like he was making a confession, so probably he was caught and brought to jail. It's about the eternal fight between good and evil, between everything beautiful and everything mean in this world. That's why Fowles diverges so deeply into the private life of Miranda. And he succeeds excellently in creating this metaphor.
The Collector becomes not the story of the collector, but of the collected.Although I agree with you on this one. It should have been named Miranda. But in case she escaped, it was to be called Collector probably.
Subject: The Last Samurai
Date: February 28, 2005
You're effective but I don't believe you were in any of the audiences.
My friend and I saw it and were on the edge of our seats. When the movie was over, the audience was so complimentary. The other night, I saw it again on telly and was mesmerized by it. Ken Watanabe was deservedly nominated for a supporting award.
Rachel Manija Brown replies:
Thank you for your comments on my review.
I'm not sure what you mean by the word "effective" in your first sentence, or by your comment that I wasn't in any of the audiences. If you mean I literally wasn't in the audience you were in, you're undoubtedly right. Going by your use of the word "telly," I suspect that we saw it on different continents. If you mean that I wasn't in the film's intended audience, you're incorrect: I am a fan of samurai movies and rushed out to see this one.
I agree with you about the very talented Ken Watanabe, though. May I forward your letter to the Green Man Review letter column?
Sincerely, Rachel Brown
By all means, do so. What I really wanted was to let Tom Cruise know how much the men enjoyed the movie. Thanks.
Subject: Lone Wolf and Cub
Date: February 28, 2005
I came across your review of this series in The Green Man Review and wanted to let you know what a pleasure it was to read your incisive comments on the first two volumes of the series. Did you keep up with the subsequent volumes? I'm starting Volume 22 now and am really going to feel bad when I come to the end of the manga.
Koike and Kojima's Samurai Executioner, which tells the story of Ogami Itto before the events of Lone Wolf begin, is being issued now by Dark Horse and Iíll probably pick up those volumes as well, though it's hard to imagine that it could match Lone Wolf. I've also heard that Koike is now doing a series in Japan (obviously with a new illustrator) that takes up Daigoro's story where Lone Wolf leaves off. Hopefully Dark Horse will see fit to publish it one day.
Regards, Matt Conroy
Rachel Manija Brown replies:
Thank you so much for your letter. Yes, I'm still reading Lone Wolf and Cub, I just haven't had time to write more reviews of the series. I regret to say that I haven't heard good things about Samurai Executioner, but I'll check it out myself when I finish with Lone Wolf. Thanks for letting me know that Koike's working on a series about Daigoro -- I hadn't heard that.
By the way, I have a blog here, where I have written a lot of informal notes on the manga I've been reading.
Date: February 11, 2005
I poked around your site some and was very impressed; the comprehensive review of Evita (by Michelle Erica Green) was really quite stunning in the breadth and depth of its analysis. Likewise, your extensive Oysterband reviews reminded me that I need to have their catalog loaded onto my iPod. It was also particularly gratifying to see the very positive review of Gordon Lightfoot's Songbook box set, which I co-produced with GL half a decade ago.
Cheers, Thane Tierney
Subject: The Collector review
Date: February 7, 2005
I'm an English literature student in my 6th year of senior school; I am soon to be taking the exams that qualify me for University (Drama School). I don't know what the American equivalent of this year is.
One of the texts that I have looked at for my exam is John Fowles' popular novel, The Collector. On a personal level, I found this book incredibly interesting, yet requiring more than one read to grasp. Your criticism of this novel, I feel, did not give any of that justice. I felt that your review was bigotted, uninformed, and that the small bit of criticism you did give was not relevant to the text but rather the length of it.
John Fowles juxtaposed the two characters Ferdinand and Miranda against each other because they are both people trapped: Ferdinand by conformity and the unimaginative normality that was seen to be "lower class," Miranda by her pretentious world of art and her inability to see beyond herself.
The tragedy of the novel, however, is that Miranda is beginning to understand herself because of her captivity by the end of the novel but then unfortunately dies. She is not murdered. Clegg, on the other hand, makes no attempt whatsoever to understand himself, indeed his existentialist notion of "self" has been supressed so much that he is totally unable to do anything abnormal or non-comformist.
The book is fascinating as a statement about the "many" and the "few" as well as a story. As well as sympathizing for Miranda, we are also meant to hate her due to her arrogance and the pretentious, art-snob world that she hypocritically claims to "transcend class."
These points barely touch the surface of the deep personal, emotional, physical, and political network that Fowles presents in The Collector. It is disappointing to read a review that has not been researched. I'm very glad, however, that you appreciate the work of Kenneth Branagh, one of the best English actors ever. Being a student of the theatre myself, I have enormous respect for the man.
Thank you for your time.
Yours Sincerely, Jon, 17.
Subject: Zappa Picks review
Date: January 29, 2005
Just a note on the reference to Peter Wolf being the same one that fronted the J. Geils Band in the 1970s. The Peter Wolf that Frank Zappa employed in the late 1970s is not the same guy. This one's from Austria.
Gary Whitehouse responds:
Well, I'm blushing. Thanks for setting me straight. Obviously, I don't claim to be an expert in all things Zappa; I just like his music! Thanks for reading GMR and for writing.
(Readers can learn more about this Peter Wolf at this Web site.)
Date: January 25, 2005
Thanks for your excellent review of The Art of Modern Rock. I'm just about to stroll along to the bookshop and buy it. I stroll rather than run these days. I'm sure it will bring back many good and bad memories of my time some years back as an ad agency art director working with record companies. My blood still runs cold when I think back: soulless suits and the first time I heard "the lead guitarist's girlfriend is an artist and has a few ideas" or when I had a black candlelit meeting with Peter Grant and Jimmy Page's witchy wife at the fledgling Swan Song Records.
For many years I've steered clear of the music biz, but the opportunity to art direct Dan Hicks' latest CD Selected Shorts was too much of a temptation. Love the man, love his music, and he was the best client I've ever had. Needless to say, I had no contact with the record company throughout the whole procedure.
I look forward to reading more of your reviews.
Best regards from a cold wet London in a colder wetter UK, Steve Lovering
Subject: The Meaning of "Carabas"
Date: January 24, 2005
While searching for the meaning of the word "Carabas," I came across the name Jack Zipes, who had considered the origins of that name. ([This is regarding] the Marquis du Carabas, the name that Puss-in-Boots gave to his master, Tom, the miller's son.)
I found one vague reference to the name as meaning "cabbage," and as the name of a fool in first-century Alexandria. That seems to fit because, in the play that our group is rehearsing, Tom eats cabbage to maintain his life. Also, when I was a boy, people sometimes would call me a "Cabbage-Head."
You wrote an article that included Zipes. Do you know what he said about the name Carabas? Do you know that word? Can you offer any references?
If I can get some information, I would like to include it in the program that we hand out at the door. If you haven't a clue, please let me know that, too.
And I like to listen to Jethro Tull, too.
Liz Milner responds:
High Culture Trivia: "The Marquis de Carabas" also appears in Jay Ward's Fractured Fairytales version of "Puss in Boots." And, of course, in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. You might try searching for Charles Perrault, who published the original "Puss 'n' Boots." My work computer has blocked access to Web sites on Perrault -- fairy tales, as we know, being seditious and salacious forms of literature.
Subject: Zevon Review
Date: January 23, 2005
Hey there -
I was perambulating Green Man Review, and I came across your review of Warren Zevon's career. What a great article, man. You gave him his well-deserved respect, but didn't glorify him in his death. I look forward to more of your articles.
All the best - Andy Mullen
Gary Whitehouse replies:
Thanks, Andy. Warren Zevon's music meant a lot to me, and it was a labor of love to write that little tribute to him. Thanks for reading GMR, and for writing.
Subject: 1952 Vincent
Date: January 20, 2005
Can you send me photos, and all the info on the particular motorcycle. I wish to ask my beautiful girlfriend to marry me and i want to know all I can about these bikes. I will be buying one for the proposal.
Thank you very much, Michael Fox
David Kidney responds:
What is a 1952 Vincent Black Lightning?
The Vincent Black Lightning is a rare and very fast British motorcycle. Fewer than 30 were made in 1952.
The Vincent company went out of business in the mid-fifties, but not before manufacturing some of the most famous "classic" British motorcycles.
Vincent motorcycles are best remembered for their high quality, lightness, design innovations (such as the coil spring beneath the seat), and speed. Post-war Vincents were considered the fastest standard motorcycles in the world. The 1000cc Rapide was rated at 110-115 mph, while the Black Lightning, the machine owned by our James Adie and passed on to Red Molly in Richard Thompson's song "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" (Rumor And Sigh), was claimed to run at 150 mph! Indeed, American Rollie Free broke the American speed record of 136.183 mph when he went 150.313 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, in 1948 on a Black Lightning and then 156.58 mph in 1950. The previous record dated back to 1937!
The Vincent company produced Black Lightning motorcycles in very small numbers between 1948 and 1954. In terms of romantic, rare, fast, and dangerous British symbols, R.T. could not have chosen a better icon than the Vincent Black Lightning!
Cat Eldridge adds:
Use the image search on google.com to find images of it.
Subject: Donovan at Joe's Pub
Date: January 18, 2005
I just now saw your review of one of the July shows at Joe's. I had the good fortune of promoting the 9 shows we did last summer. The six august shows exceeded the three in July, and each seemed to be better than the last.
The "geek" who introduced Don was Richard Barone. Richard was the head of the legendary "bongos" and has a celebrated solo career. I am proud to call Richard a friend (as is Don) and the donation of his time to help make these shows special, was in my eyes icing on the cake.
I'm sorry that you did not agree. I believe it's your loss not knowing more about him.
David Kidney replies:
Thanks for your response. "Geek" is not as bad a word as you have interpreted it to be. He may be a genius, super-talented person. I don't know. And since at the time of the show (and the writing of the article), I didn't know his name, I just called him a "geek" [Editor's note: The review has been changed to reflect Mr. Barone's identity.]. After all, I'd been standing out in the pouring rain for an hour waiting to be admitted to the show. We were, all of us, soaked to the skin.
I believe I stated in no uncertain terms that the show was extraordinary. Including the reading from Howl, which added to the ambience immensely.
I look back on the concert fondly. I only wish the signed copies of beat cafe had been available. I've been loving that album ever since!
Subject: The Others
Date: January 12, 2005
Dear Green Man Review
I have just seen the film The Others broadcast on television. Sometime in the late 50's or early 60's I saw a play in Glasgow with the same title. Nigel Patrick either wrote starred or directed this version of a ghost story where a couple arrive in an isolated house after a car accident. They are troubled by ghostly apparitions of Victorian children and the denouement comes when one of them returns to the car accident and returns to announce that they are dead. The stage was plunged into sudden darkness as they clung to each other in realisation, only moments later the formerly gloomy set was transformed into a stately Victorian drawing room with rich colours where an elegant mother was discussing the ghostly appearances with the children who had been "haunting" the modern couple. It was a breathtaking moment of theatre.
I wonder if anyone remembers the author of this play. I sadly mislaid the programme many years ago.
Sincerely, Martin Reynolds
Subject: Missing Link
Date: January 3, 2005
I hope you had a great holiday season. (I hope your wife, three cats, dog, and chinchilla did, too.) First, I must say that all of your writing is great... Which is a rarity these days for reviewers and interviewers. I'm rather embarrassed that I didn't send you a 'Thank You' for the great review that you did of one of my CDs: Live & Funktified. It is a great detailed and thorough review. It's a hard road out there being a singer-songwriter and great reviews always help.
Secondly, I noticed that the link for my CD Review that my webguy has on my site is broken. Do I have the right link? (http://www.greenmanreview.com/CD/cd_vaillancourt_livefunktified.html)
Keep up the great work! Thanks for everything...
Many Blessings, Dan Vaillancourt
Craig Clarke responds:
Thanks for the well wishes (we have two dogs now; I should change that) and the compliments. I hope you, too, had a great holiday season.
No harm done about the thank you. I wasn't even sure that you had seen the review. Often, artists send in CDs and then totally forget to check, so it's nice to know that you are aware (and the Web link doesn't hurt either, of course; thanks for that).
It looks like the only difference (we have had a server change lately and some optimization was done), is that the "CD" folder is now the "cd" folder, which I wouldn't have thought would be a big deal but apparently is. (Who'd've thought the Internet was case-sensitive?)
Good to hear from you, and keep up the funktification.
Subject: "Repeal the Poll Tax"
Date: January 2, 2005
Aye Aye Jack,
As the writer of the tune "Repeal The Poll Tax" I've gotten used to it being recorded all over the joint and usually with no payment to me or to MCPS/PRS. Such is life; damn all I can do about it. But I do take exception to your description of it in The Green Man Review as "English traditional material such as 'Repeal the Poll Tax' and...."
I think this was in connection with a review of a CD by an English band called Widdershins. It's a Scottish Tune. I'm a Scottish Fiddle Player. It has no connection with English Traditional music.
I don't want to rant and I am devoid of of national prejudice; buy me a drink sometime and put the record straight? Enjoyed the Green Man: a fine publication! Thanks kindly!
Best wishes, Sandy Mathers
Subject: SPike's review of Corneilius Music
Date: December 26, 2004
Kindest regards, Corneilius Lookwood
Subject: Mercury Blues
Date: December 8, 2004
Just to let you know that Paul Brady and Rory Gallagher did a crackin' version of "Mercury Blues" at the Punchestown festival in 1982 that beats the pants off of Lindley's, Jackson's, or Miller's version.
David Kidney replies:
So, these guys played a good live version of a song 22 years ago!?!?! I've heard lots of great songs that are gone with the wind, but unless they leave some magnetic memory of it, it exists only in the air! But...thanks for thinking of me!
Sorry, I guess that seemed out of the blue. I was listening to a live recording of the 1982 Punchestown concert (Naas, Ireland) and decided to look up the origin of a song they played, "Mercury Blues," because it sounded so familiar. I found the answer on your site.
The article mentioned some others that had recorded it, and I just had to chirp in. If you ever want an mp3 of this version just let me know. Nice site, by the way, very informative.
Subject: Correction Nancy Carlin Interview
Date: December 6, 2004
Just read the interesting review of Nancy Carlin on your Web site concerning Welsh music in general and the groups that she represents. However, one technical point: The Welsh for "Thanks very much" is properly "Diolch yn fawr," not "Doich yn fawr" as shown in the interview.
Thanks for giving some attention to this under appreciated genre of Celtic music.
David B. Evans
Cat Eldridge responds:
How did you find the interview?
David B. Evans:
I thought it was well done. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and know Nancy personally, as well as Robin Huw Bowen and the members of Carreg Lafar, as I was involved in arranging a concert on behalf of the Welsh Development Agency at Villa Montalvo in Saratoga as part of Festival of Wales 2001 held in San Jose, CA. This Celtic concert featured Robin Huw Bowen playing with Carreg Lafar as well as Mary Black who represented the Irish side of things.
Cat Eldridge:I think you gave good coverage to Nancy's activities and the groups that she represents. The surprising element to me was the representation that Welsh music was unknown to the public at large. I recognize that Irish music certainly is the best known Celtic music -- to the extent that many people take the term Celtic to mean Irish -- but I had thought that recent efforts to promote Wales and the Welsh language and arts had at least generated some visibility. However, this is probably the personal bias of someone who is involved in a minor way in promoting Welsh culture.
On this coast, even Nordic music is better known. The promoters just don't seem interested in it. A pity, given how good it is. Getting them to commit to booking Welsh groups can't be an easy task for Nancy!It certainly is true that Welsh music is a distinctly different genre that comes from several unique cultural backgrounds and is one that is continuing to develop in modern modes, and that anything that can be done to make it more visible to the general public is a good thing. I believe your interview helps to do just that and points people at some good places to get started listening to it.
Thank Nancy -- She gave excellent answers!Congratulations and diolch yn fawr once again for a very nice interview. Nancy does a lot of work to promote the lesser known Celtic genres and it is nice that she is getting some public recognition for the work that she is doing.
My pleasure. If you're interested in helping us expand our Welsh music coverage, I'd love to talk to you!
Subject: Trite works...
Date: December 2, 2004
I ran across your review of Murder by Magic, and enjoyed reading your comments. Yes, you may be correct that "Mixed Marriages" was a little trite but it was supposed to be. Thank you for your comments.
Cat Eldridge responds:
You get points for not being pissed off. Most of the writers who comment seem annoyed at the least bit of criticism.
Please...you're kidding me, right? I've been doing this way too long to be that sensitive. I took your review the way you meant it, or at least the way I think you meant it. Either way....
Actually I'm not kidding. We've had authors so upset that they were foaming at the mouth. And yes, you read my intention correctly. What the anthology as a whole suffered from was that it all started to blend together in my mind as I read it. If I had read it over a month's period, all of the stories would've held up better.
Subject: In Paper Houses
Date: November 27, 2004
Just a brief note to say that I only just caught up with your review of the new CD. Many thanks for your very generous comments, glad you liked it. Am I right in thinking that GMR is based in the USA? Reason is because my albums are now availiable from Crow & Wolf in America by mail order and the In Paper Houses album is currently starred as featured CD of the month.
In the meantime, I am pretty busy elsewhere and the new CD selling well, been lucky to have a collection of good reviews up & down the country. Hope all is well with you and The Marrowbones; have a good Christmas & all the best for '05.
Peter Massey responds:
Nice to hear from you. I am glad you liked the review I wrote in GMR, and yes they are based in the U.S.A., although the staff writers are all over the world. The system seems to work well and you (the reader) get a good objective view on all sorts of music. I really enjoyed In Paper Houses and so has everyone I have played it to.
Have a nice Christmas and we will see you in May 2005, at Weston Village Club.
Cheers 'n' Beers, Pete Massey
Subject: Russell Smith
Date: November 20, 2004
I was running a search this evening on Russell Smith. It led me to your wonderful review of Sunday Best on the Green Man Review Web site. I smiled when I read your comments because they sounded like they might have come from me.
I remember my joy of that first RS album. I thought that his solo career would take off with that release. It impressed me just as much as an Aces album. At that time there was a RS fan club called The Russell Smith Organization (based somewhere in Colorado, I believe). I signed on, got an autographed photo of Russell, and kept posted with monthly mailers. I was anticipating the release of The Boy Next Door, and could not believe it when I found out it would not be released domestically. I still remember the words of that newsletter stating that the label found the resulting music was "not a commercially viable product!" for release here in the USA.
Ha! For years I searched Goldmine to try to find the European release of that album. I almost succeeded once. The release of Sunday Best, at least, brought some of those great sessions/songs to light.
I was searching tonight to see if Russell might be working on a follow up to The End Is Not In Sight (another CD of some of the best music nobody will ever hear). That one is simply a killer! In fact, I've been playing it this week. I've never had a chance to see the Aces live. Illness forced them to cancel their one show I attended (a Mountain Stage show) a few years back.
I have all of those Russell Smith releases you referred to and hopefully await the next!
Regards, Dave Haines
David Kidney replies:
Thanks for the e-mail. Glad you liked the article.
I think I paid 39 cents for that first Russell Smith album!
Just in case you've missed it, the first Russell Smith album was released (with 3 bonus tracks) by Taxim in 2001. I found, during my search, that there is a new Aces CD Nothin' but the Blues (2003). I'll add that one to my Christmas Wish List. Always glad to talk to another fan of Russell's...
Regards, Dave Haines
Subject: The Book of Ballads
Date: November 16, 2004
Just got back from the Fiddlers Green (Neil Gaiman / Sandman) convention and am totally exhausted. A grand time was had by all and we managed to raise over $45,000 for the CBLDF with only 350-ish attendees. Then there was the drinking of a few drams of the creature, the masquerade and the dancin' into the wee hours. If I had had any more fun, I'd be dead.
Anyways, your review was splendid!! Thank you very much, kind sir! I'll be ready to proceed with our interview as soon as I recover some brain cells.
Date: November 11, 2004
I've seldom written to a critic or reviewer, but your lengthy article [reviewing John Langstaff Sings the Lark in the Morn], which Revels' Alan Casso found on the Internet recently, intrigued me.
Your knowledge of the music and the history of the industry, your charming déjà vu story, and your quick notice of the error in the reversal of the two frog cuts, were all fascinating to read.
Good luck in all you're doing; and with my best wishes, John Langstaff
Peter Massey replies:
Thank you for your email and your kind words. I am glad you liked the review. The album struck me as something out of the ordinary in this 'modern' day and age. Something I hope youngsters might pick up on and listen to, if only for its historic content.
In the present day folk scene there is no mistake about it, that there are some wonderfully talented singers and musicians (usually semi-pro) around at the moment. Sometimes they are all a little bit too eager to alter the tune, just so as to put their individual 'stamp' on a song. I have to admit sometimes it's for the good of the song, and sometimes it's not! Having an album like yours as a reference point to the actual notation of the song collected, as laid down by Cecil Sharp, can only be a good thing.
At this moment in time, your album is out 'on loan' doing the rounds to several singers at Frodsham Folk club (my local). It is certainly raising some interest to say the least! Comments like "I'd almost forgotten about that song. I'll probably sing it next week."
Cheers 'n' Beers, Pete Massey
[Editor's note: Read about Pete's place in rock history with The Legends.]
Subject: Blackie and the Rodeo Kings
Date: November 10, 2004
My family and I saw Blackie and the Rodeo Kings at the Mariposa Folk Festival this summer. We could not get enough of them; We listen to their CDs all the time. I was a fan of Steven Fearing already but the three together are magic.
Enjoyed your review, Jeff Potts
Subject: Your Little Feat review
Date: November 5, 2004
I enjoyed your Little Feat review at Green Man.
In it, you note the original running order of the four sides of the Waiting for Columbus 2-LP set and go on to write:
Rhino rearranged the order of the cuts, so be prepared to use that list to play them in their original order. Why Rhino rearranged them is something I'll not speculate on as they certainly could've fit on the two CDs in the original order!I can explain this: At the time of the original release, as you probably recall, many consumers still had LP players that featured stackability. You could play one disc and have another stacked to drop and play when the first LP finished. This is the reason for the original LP lineup of Waiting for Columbus.
The package was to duplicate the pacing of a regular Little Feat show of the time for listeners utilizing the stackable LP feature. You could play Side 1, Sisc 1 and have Side 1, Disc 2 (Side 3) stacked to go. When side 3 finished, the listener could flip both discs and continue to the second half of the concert with Side 2, Disc 1, with Side 2, Disc 2 (side 4) stacked to drop and play last.
The last song of the proper "set" is "Spanish Moon," and the first song of the encore is "Willin'." This is why the band drops out one-by-one at the end of "Spanish Moon" -- they left the stage one at a time until only Richie was left. The crowd noise and chanting at the end of "Spanish Moon" is the typical "encore" noise. The beginning of "Willin'" with Lowell saying "you folks are crazy" is the band returning to the stage.
So the Rhino CD reissue sequence restores the actual performance sequence of a typical Feat show of the time. I'm like you--I was so used to the playing the records in order that it took me some time to acclimate to this and I still expect to hear the beginning of "Time Loves a Hero" after "Old Folks' Boogie."
Subject: Your review of Mortal Engines
Date: November 3, 2004
Hi there -- just wanted to say that I read your Mortal Engines review just now and am glad you included it in GMR. I agree that most science-fiction doesn't have a place in GMR but that Reeve's books are unusually good. His inventiveness is seemingly boundless, and the stories are full of action and incident but give equal weight to character. I'm usually bored by a lot of "action," but as in His Dark Materials, the action makes for a good, fast-paced read, while your concern for the characters keeps the heart in the reading.
There's a nice touch in Predator's Gold, where there's mention of famous film stars from before the disaster, and he names off -- I forget, Ingrid Bergman or the like -- and Gong Li! I love the multicultural aspect of his stories. He makes me think of Pullman and of Ursula LeGuin both.
Best wishes from another Steeleye Span and Richard Thompson fan.
P.S.: Have you read Jeanne Du Prau's The City of Ember? Also startling and delightful (and post-apocalyptic).
Cat Eldridge responds:
Thanks for the kind words. I thought both books were those rare works that both young adults (to use that dreaded marketing term!) and adults alike would enjoy. No, I haven't read Jeanne Du Prau's The City of Ember, so I will check it out. If you like post-apocalyptic settings, do check Emma Bull's Bone Dance which is set in a post-apocalyptic Minneapolis.
I actually think that Mortal Engines is a better book than the sequel to it, as it was better-paced than the second book in the series. But I generally dislike the second book in trilogies, as often they feel like they are just there to pad out the series.
Watch for a new Steeleye CD, all Christmas songs, in December on Park Records.
Thanks for the reply. I actually liked Predator's Gold better than most sequels. When you do read The City of Ember, you will rush out for the sequel -- and will be disappointed, as it's a much more ordinary kind of novel.
I'll check out the Emma Bull -- I read her War for the Oaks a number of years ago and loved it -- and bought it for my school library.
Trubba not, Jane Hyde
Subject: Thanks to Grey Walker
Date: November 2, 2004
Dear Green Man Review,
Please pass along to Grey Walker my appreciation for an excellent review of Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising quintology which inspired me to reread it.
My daughter Katie and I loved Over Sea Under Stone, but we just couldn't 'get into' the second book because it was so different from what we expected, so we didn't finish the series. I am now looking forward to reading the series to my daughter Theresa.
Regards, Vic Lauterbach
P.S.: Please tell Grey Walker that I knew someone who'd read The Smith of Wootton Major was worth listening to. I recently finished The Road to Middle-Earth and highly recommend it. It's intense, but fascinating.
Subject: The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Date: November 2, 2004
I've been googling around trying to find the origin of "The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter" or "The Executioner's Beautiful Daughter." The idea of the lovely daughter of a state-sanctioned killer seems to be a theme in many stories -- from a prequel to From Dusk 'Til Dawn (the Quentin Tarantino movie) to a couple of different famous short stories to Sharyn McCrumb's novel.
I'm wondering if you know of an origin or source for these stories? The overarching theme (from what I can gather) seems to be that no matter how good and beautiful the hangman's daughter is, she'll end in tragedy. Kind of a sins-of-the-father thing, perhaps? I'm not sure.
Anyway, it's impossible to find origin-type stuff without stumbling across McCrumb or Angela Carter. I was wondering if you found anything while reviewing McCrumb's books. Is there a recurring theme or am I just imagining things?
Thanks, Kelly J.
Subject: Baez review
Date: October 29, 2004
Just read your review of the Baez concert on the Internet. Thought your summary was excellent. It's great to read a review by someone you feel has actually listened to her material, enjoys her and her band's musicianship, and doesn't just see her as some kind of museum-piece. The likes of Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, and Mary-Chapin Carpenter obviously think so, too.
It's so nice to come across something on the Internet (while you're searching for something totally different -- Vicky Clayton, believe it or not!) that takes you nicely by surprise.
All the best, Roddy Clenaghan
Subject: Lost Trails
Date: October 27, 2004
I would like to inform you about our Web site Lost Trails in hopes that you may review us or add us to your Web links page.
Lost Trails is an educational multimedia Web site. We have an ongoing project to record and place free examples of our recordings of authentic folk music on our Web site. We currently have folk music we recorded in Greece and Romania on the site and have plans to put up downloads of traditional Kurdish, Bulgarian, and Turkish music as well over the coming months. Copies of the complete recordings of these musicians are available to order from us. (Direct link to the music page.)
Our main activity is the Herodotus Project. The Herodotus project is a free serialised new translation of the Greek historian Herodotus along with extensive photography of the locations and artifacts mentioned in the book. With this resource, a student of history can explore the text visually while reading it. This project aims to eventually have as complete a pictorial record as possible of the sites mentioned by Herodotus. This is a multi-year effort which is only realisable on the Internet. We update the Web site monthly with newly-translated text and a photographic essay of a site mentioned by Herodotus.
Sincerely, Shane Solow
Subject: Why Fantasy and SF got to the National Book Festival
Date: October 25, 2004
Last year I was in the National Book Festival's children's book tent (speaking about Jack Kennedy and Clinton and Roosevelt and antiwar sentiment in the land of Republicans)! I believe in Speaking Truth to Power.
Anyway, the real reason that Neil Gaiman and others got invited to the National Book Fest is that I said to John Cole, head of the Library of Congress, "How come there's no SF/Fantasy tent?" And he said, "We were turned down by Ursula Le Guin and stopped trying." And I said, "I am a past president of SFWA. Trust me, I can get you enough authors to fill that tent." And so over the next few months I contacted SF/Fantasy writers who fulfilled the small brief of: bestsellers, award winners, multicultural, and multi-gendered.
And lo! There were great lines in the signing area.
Subject: Toils Obscure
Date: October 12, 2004
Thank you so much for listening to our CD and for your review in the Green Man Review.
Your perspective is very interesting to me. I learned most of these songs from sheet music. After playing and humming a melody numerous times, I then choose the accompanying chords that seem the most natural to me. The one thing that astounds me with every new song I learn is how the words almost sing themselves -- always pausing and emphasizing in just the right places. We have learned a dozen or so songs since this CD was made and hope to have a more evolved and mature CD made in the future.
We will proudly add your review to our printed press kit. May we also post it on our Web site?
Thanks again, Bob Hay
Peter Massey replies:
Thank you for your email and kind words, I am glad you liked the review. Since writing the review, I have had chance to play the album to many 'folkies' and, as I suspected, the reaction has been mixed, but on the whole very good and most liked what they heard.
Fine by me if you want to publish the review on your press kit and on your Web site. If you do this, all that Green Man Review ask is that you include a link back to site.
All the best for the future, Regards, Peter Massey.
Subject: A new Tam Lin movie
Date: October 11, 2004
Hi there --
I found your Web site through a link at Abigail Acland's amazing Web site and wanted to drop you a line. Currently, I am in preproduction on Lift My Sorrowed Heart, a new feature based on Tam Lin that I will be shooting in Massachusetts in the spring/summer of 2005. In order to raise money, I have put up a link to the film and a Paypal button on my Web site.
Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Best, Chelsea Spear
Subject: When Cats Go Wrong
Date: October 9, 2004
Googling around, I found your mention of Norm Hacking's "When Cats Go Wrong". Since you liked it, I thought I'd tell you that it's a children's book now, illustrated by Cynthia Nugent, with a CD, from Raincoast Books. It's reviewed in today's Globe & Mail.
Hope you don't mind my emailing you! I'm a pal of Norm's and very tickled for him about this & personally wanting to share the news.
Subject: Moch Pryderi
Date: September 19, 2004
Thanks for the review of Dancing in the Pigsty! I love Bill Reese's voice myself. It's hard to find a good baritone to sing with, so it's been a treat to work with him.
As for "Lisa Lan," I think I pushed the voice too much since I had been so used to singing out when performing without amplification. It unfortunately resulted in flattening many of the tones in that song, particularly in the first verse, so I wasn't too happy with the result myself. Ah, well, live and learn!
I hope you will give our new CD, Belly Jerk, a listen some time! It contains a lovely new tune by Bill, a few familiar Irish and Scottish tunes, as well as some driving Breton tunes, one of which is paired with a Turkish folk tune Bill learned when he served in that country in the Peace Corps.
Sl´inte! Mary Triola
Lenora Rose responds:
And thanks in return for the complimentary note!
That's actually a most reasonable explanation for how "Lisa Lan" turned out. I have heard other performers do similar things -- on one memorable occasion, a splendid singer (and well able to carry his voice far enough to be heard in a good-sized theatre without amplification) rather ruined his own performance by using a mike for a quiet crowd of 30 people.
I liked the band well enough to be far more than willing to listen to the next CD (I was trying to figure out how to work in a mention of the forthcoming release into the review, but failed). I'll be looking for it, to be sure.
Subject: I, Claudius
Date: September 24, 2004
I'm a retired BBC Film cameraman and was idly mulling over my career when I remembered sitting in a small BBC rushes theatre at BBC Ealing Film Studios watching the original black and white rushes from the 1937 shoot alongside Emlyn Williams and Dirk Bogarde. I decided to do some research on the Net and came up with your review of the BBC studio production which also mentioned the film documentary.
In 1965, I was a very junior BBC clapper loader and had been assigned to the documentary The Epic That Never Was. Prior to shooting, the crew and production viewed the 1937 rushes (fantastic quality). You can imagine my delight to be sitting next to Dirk, and in front of Emlyn Williams, and then afterwards going to the canteen for tea. To say I was overawed would not be an exaggeration. Dirk -- a screen hero, someone who previously I had only seen in monochrome in my local fleapit cinema! I had only been in the Beeb two years and each day bought new adventures and meetings that I had not thought possible when I was a struggling stills photographer.
Over the years I have completely forgotten the names of the crew and production members. In fact, I have no recollection of ever seeing the finished documentary. In those days, one was worked hard, production to production, with hardly a break in between. But I've never forgotten sitting next to Dirk Bogarde. Thanks for the review.
(By the way, all diaries from that period are long gone!)
Craig Clarke responds:
I was greatly encouraged to read of your brush with celebrity, and that my review reminded you of it. I hope you get a chance to see the documentary you had a hand in creating, because it is quite a marvelous piece of history. Thanks for writing.
Subject: Hello and thanks
Date: September 13, 2004
Just found your review on my album Soundtracks Vol 2. It's a great review, I wanted to let you know. Thanks for your attention. If you travel with your wife at dry places, stop by Tucson and say hello.
Best, Naim Amor
Date: September 10, 2004
What a condescending, ignorant little twat. You make me laugh.
Craig Clarke replies:
Thanks for writing in. I'm sorry you were disappointed by my work. Would you mind telling me what review you're referring to?
Piss off. Nobody reads your mindless twaddle, you arrogant wanker.
You did. I really would like to know what I wrote that upset you so much.
I read graffiti in public lavatories, as well -- most of which is better-written, more informed, and more sincere than any of the self-indulgent, vituperative tripe you spew, wanker.
So, let me see if I understand this correctly:
Yep, that's about right, you stupid, talentless wanker.
Thanks for all the laughs, man. You're hysterical. My friends and I have been sharing your letters with our other writer friends. We can only figure that you either have no idea what you're talking about (since you won't name a review) or you have Tourette's syndrome.
Please feel free to write in anytime.
Keep fantasizing, wanker. Talentless turds like you have no friends.
Tsk, tsk. Your vocabulary range is dwindling... Soon you're going to have to rely solely on your charm to keep impressing me.
(Sadly, we have received no further correspondence from Mr. Savage. However, we eagerly await his next response.)
Subject: Murder in the Cathedral
Date: August 22, 2004
I would also like to get hold of a copy of 1952 film, directed by George Hoellering, entitled Murder in the Cathedral. Could you pass on my contact details to Deirdre Spencer as she is searching for it too . Can anyone else assist in tracking down a copy of this film for viewing purposes only. My father (Edwin Florence) was the sculptor for the film - carving chess sets, crucifix, wooden panels. Pictures of them can be seen in the book Murder in the Cathedral. I would also be interested to find out if anyone knows what happened to the the carvings done for the film.
We have forwarded Mr. Florence's contact information on to Ms. Spencer and wish them both the best of luck.
Subject: A Mighty Wind
Date: August 20, 2004
I was glad to find someone on the Internet who has the same love of the A Mighty Wind soundtrack as I do. You really captured what it's all about in your writing. I told my wife about wanting to go out and learn a folk instrument after watching the movie and listening over and over to the songs. The lyrics were very clever.
Subject: Rain and Snow
Date: August 17, 2004
My name is Taylor Mathis and I play with Nash Street, a bluegrass band from Mississippi. We are in the process of recording our second album, and we wanted to include "Rain and Snow." We thought it was a free-domain traditional, but wanted to be sure to avoid all the legal mess. I saw that you had written a review on Muleskinner: A Potpourri of Bluegrass Jam, and thought you might know something about the rights to "Rain and Snow." If you have any information, I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks a lot, Taylor Mathis
David found his review copy of Muleskinner and discovered that "Rain and Snow" is indeed traditional.
Subject: Murder in the Cathedral
Date: August 10, 2004
Dear Mr. Merry:
We are in need of a copy of the 1952 film, directed by George Hoellering, entitled Murder in the Cathedral. I notice that you reviewed the film and wondered when and where you saw it. How did you obtain access to the film?
I am currently in contact with the Library of Congress and the British Film Institute. We would like to obtain a copy of the film, either for loan or for purchase, to show for a professor's class on September 20, 2004.
If you can assist us in any way, we would greatly appreciate it. Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Sincerely, Deirdre D. Spencer
Jack Merry responds:
I would love to help you, but I saw it off cable years ago. I can't even tell you what country I saw it in as I could have been on the road when I saw it. Sorry I can't help!
Lisa Spangenberg offers:
Try the UCLA Film Archive. They have a copy, though they may not have rights to loan or copy it -- it varies from film to film. They may very well know a source for renting it as well, in film (versus video) form.
and David Kidney laments:
This film is out of print. It is not available in any of the universities in Ontario. There are some clips available in a film called The Mysterious Mister Eliot (about T.S. Eliot, the author of the play) which includes readings by Alec McCowan. Somewhere in a library somewhere there may be a copy, but not that I can get hold of.