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3 September 2005

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  • Tom Knapp
    Hello!! Here s what s new at Rambles.NET, your best source on the Internet for roots and traditional music, fiction, folklore and movie reviews! Go to
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 2, 2005

      Here's what's new at Rambles.NET, your best source on the Internet for
      roots and traditional music, fiction, folklore and movie reviews!

      Go to http://www.rambles.net to access the new edition and much, much
      more! (Our archives contain more than 8,200 reviews, interviews and
      other bits of excitement.) See you there!

      The Love Hall Tryst sings Songs of Misfortune. "There is no particular
      reason the Love Hall Tryst should sound like the Young Tradition, the
      Watersons, Waterson:Carthy or the Voice Squad, but that's how many of
      us are used to hearing English folk-harmony singing," Jerome Clark
      reports. "The four Trysts -- two men, two women -- lack the vocal depth
      of the just-mentioned. Still, they do all right."

      Tony O'Connell and Andy Morrow "have paired up to record a truly
      enjoyable album," Heather Lewin-Tiarks, the latest addition to our
      writing team, says. "Their self-titled CD is a well-balanced blend of
      virtuosity and musical maturity. ... Highly recommended for traditional
      musicians looking to learn tunes, this is a must for Irish trad

      The Scottish Guitar Quartet makes its Landmarks known in this gem of a
      new release. "This quartet will enthrall the listener, particularly
      those who have never heard their music," says Ann Flynt. "Although I
      have never been to Scotland, I feel a certain kinship with its varied
      musical forms, its history and culture."

      The McCabes perform in the Dark Before the Dawn. "Often old-timey,
      sometimes Irish and always instrumentally sound, their latest album ...
      is definitely worth a listen," says Katie De Jong. "The instrumental
      sets, which blend modern and traditional instrumentation and are dubbed
      with cute-but-cheesy titles like 'Reely Funky' and 'Reely Jammin',' are
      undisputably the best numbers on this album."

      Kevin Collins "has a wonderful voice that projects a love of the lyrics
      and the sentiments he delivers," says Nicky Rossiter. For proof, he
      offers two recent Irish-country recording projects, This is My Home and
      Jump In & Swim. "Collins gives us a wide range of songs all sung with
      love and affection that will lift your heart even if you do not have a
      drop of Irish blood," Nicky says. "He has a knack for writing nice,
      seductively simple songs that we can all believe we can sing."

      Eddy Lawrence "reaches Inside My Secret Pocket and pulls out an album
      and a half of spine-thrilling, blood-pumping folk-rock," says Sarah
      Meador. "Relationships on the skids make an appearance, along with
      cheating, selfish lovers, uncertain new friends and some good
      old-fashioned self-loathing. All are handled with refreshing energy and
      unusual insight."

      Chuck Brodsky's voice "has an unassuming, conversational quality to it
      -- slightly rough-edged but soft and warm," says Joy McKay. "From the
      start of Color Came One Day, his sixth recording in 10 years, one
      senses the presence of a sensitive friend. ... This is an excellent
      album from a fine songwriter."

      Andrew Smith reaches Escape Velocity with this new CD. "Smith takes us
      on a journey of wordless musical expression, telling evocative,
      authentic stories with percussive, exotic instrumentals," says Jane
      Eamon, another new member of the team. "I was struck by the intensity
      and diversity of musical moods Smith was able to convey."

      Jackie Frost blurs the lines between country and folk music on
      Calliope. Carole McDonnell approves of the result. How much, you ask?
      "This is a great album to score a love affair to!" she replies.

      James Leva marks a separation of musical talents with 'Til I Know. "It
      is easy to hear this as a 'divorce album' in the vein of Bob Dylan's
      Blood on the Tracks and Richard Thompson's Hand of Kindness," Jerome
      Clark concludes. "Leva's writing (he composed nearly everything here)
      is better than I remembered it; or, more likely, it's improved because
      he appears less focused on penning Nashville hits and more on actually
      saying something."

      Blues artist Jimmy Thackery skirts the edges of tragedy on Healin'
      Ground, Carole McDonnell says. "Resolve and healing are on hand

      Hugh Masekela holds a Revival with South African influences informing
      his jazz style. Unfortunately, Gregg Thurlbeck says, "the album begins
      a slow slide back into mediocrity. ... The result is an album that
      wants to be dangerous, that wants to break down barriers, that wants to
      inspire and uplift but which, with a couple of exceptions, succeeds
      only at being dull, safe and forgettable."

      As presumptuous as it may seem to claim to have captured the best music
      of an entire continent on a single CD, Gregg opines, "The Best of
      Africa is a strong and reasonably diverse collection with many of the
      most influential African pop musicians of the latter part of the 20th
      century represented. ... Let's just hope that Universal Music realizes
      that they've short-changed the continent and will remedy the situation
      with another couple of equally strong collections of African music."

      When Suzanne Vega performed with Nerina Pallot at the Anvil in
      Basingstoke, Engand, Ellen Rawson couldn't stay away. She tells us all
      about it in her concert review!

      Mitchell Fink touches a nerve with Never Forget: An Oral History of
      September 11, 2001. Daniel Jolley calls the book "by far the most
      personal and emotionally compelling book I have read about the
      terrorist attacks of 9/11. I honestly think every American should read
      this book -- now more than ever. ... So many of those people showed
      great bravery and humanity, and it's really uplifting to read about
      those 'little' but powerful stories that you never heard about on the

      Edward Lodi expounds on things ghostly in The Haunted Violin: True New
      England Ghost Stories. "Lodi's third collection of ghost stories from
      New England ... is a pleasant trip to the locations he describes," Tom
      Knapp says. "Lodi has a laidback, affable manner to his tales, even as
      he relates the spooky goings-on in houses and bogs, graveyards, inns
      and even a public library."

      Eric Garcia presents us with a pair of mysteries -- and some undercover
      dinosaurs -- in his new omnibus publication of Anonymous Rex and Casual
      Rex. "The book is written in first person, in the classic style of ye
      olde detective mysteries from the golden age of Dashiell Hammett and
      Sam Spade," says Daniel Jolley. "And make no mistake -- aside from the
      unique dinosaur angle and the constant showcase of sarcastic wit and
      genuinely funny writing, Garcia knows how to construct and tell a good

      Celia Rees concludes the saga of early American settler Mary Newbury in
      Sorceress, which follows the young girl's path from Puritan settlement
      to Indian village, and beyond. "Those who enjoyed Witch Child will also
      be pleased to learn the fates, both good and bad, of various characters
      from that book," Tom Knapp says. "Sorceress is a delightful book, an
      excellent sequel and further proof that Rees is one of the top writers
      of young-adult historical fiction working today. I recommend both books

      Joseph Boyden makes his fiction debut on a Three Day Road. Its essence,
      says Gregg Thurlbeck, "is captured with remarkable precision and
      brevity in a single sentence 50 pages from the completion of the story.
      'We all fight on two fronts, the one facing the enemy, the one facing
      what we do to the enemy.' Everything else in this terrific book is an
      expansion on this central notion."

      Walter Mosley is looking for The Man in My Basement. "Mosley writes so
      well that it looks easy," Jean Marchand says. "There is never a
      misplaced word or a contradiction -- just smooth, effortless, elegant
      prose all the way. He gives us something to think about as we sit on
      our porches unable to sleep."

      Alice Hoffman delivers a hard message in The Ice Queen. "This novel has
      a positive message -- live life to its fullest because you never know
      when it will end -- wrapped in a negative presentation," Wil Owen says.
      "The Ice Queen harps on life as sadness, life as unfulfilling, life as
      pain. ... So, if you get motivated through negative vibes, this novel
      just might be for you."

      Tom Knapp follows a different path from Yavin in Star Wars Infinities:
      A New Hope, which posits a story in which Luke Skywalker failed to
      destroy the Death Star and the Rebel Alliance was beaten. "Chris Warner
      has written an exciting what if version of the popular movie that
      started it all," Tom says. "With no more movies in the works to keep
      fans interested, it's ideas such as this that will help keep the Star
      Wars franchise strong."

      Tom Knapp feels let down by The Brothers Grimm. "With a clever idea for
      a plot, a strong cast and director Terry Gilliam at the helm, The
      Brothers Grimm should have been an obvious winner," he says.
      "Unfortunately, Gilliam dropped the ball on this one, forcing clever
      twists and visual effects into the film without direction or cohesion."

      Daniel Jolley is back for the final installment in Scream 3. "The
      Scream trilogy brought fresh new blood (in copious amounts) to the
      horror film genre," he says. "Scream 2 was something of a step
      backwards from the first movie, but Scream 3 marked a turn back in the
      right direction. Fortunately, Wes Craven knew when to stop."

      Next, Dan sets the wayback machine for 1985 and The Breakfast Club.
      "The Breakfast Club is probably the archetypal movie of the 1980s, at
      least that of the youth in America. It is an indelible part of cultural
      history and remains as fresh and brash as ever today," he says. "This
      is a great movie and one that appealed directly to young people."

      That's all for another day here at Rambles.NET. Do hurry back!
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