1 October 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 8,300 reviews, interviews and
other bits of excitement.) See you there!
Brian Roebuck sings A Song for Luke and remembers Luke Kelly, the
pivotal Dubliners singer. "Sadly, Kelly died at the height of his
popularity and probably years before he reached the peak of his
performance," Nicky Rossiter says. "From this inspiration we get an
excellent album of songs associated with Luke Kelly, sung with an
obvious love of the man and the music."
There's a lot of Irish talent on offer at the Ruby Sessions, Nicky
says. "It is one of those albums that will appeal to many people but
may be difficult to find," he says. "These performers need to be heard
and it is up to true music lovers to seek them out."
Fire in the Glen is ready to Let the Wind Blow High with this new
release. "It's a fine collection of mainly Irish tunes and songs
reinterpreted for the duo format," says Debbie Koritsas. "If you love
your music to give you that live, spontaneous sound, yet remain very
faithful to the tradition, this one is for you!"
NeidFyre (a.k.a. Melissa "Gryphon" Ginsberg) takes us back to the
Renaissance on Duck Feet Waddling. Tom Knapp worries that a singer
posing as a band might disappoint some listeners, but nonetheless
admires the singer's vocals. "Ginsberg has a powerful voice, which she
displays to great effect on songs that will certainly be very familiar
to anyone who has ever stepped inside the gates of any of the many
Renaissance fairs dotting the country," he says.
Redbird is what happens when Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault and Peter
Mulvey team up to play in a hotel, and Redbird is what happens when
they get into a studio -- or, in this case, a living room with a
microphone. "It's easy to compare this collaboration to the Cry Cry Cry
CD with Richard Shindell, Lucy Kaplansky and Dar Williams, as another
example of the enjoyable result of when three talented musicians get
together and record some of their favorite songs," Dave Townsend says.
"Redbird is a great product of three people who share a love of
Americana music along with being good musicians and songwriters, and
that makes Redbird a very good CD."
Kate McDonnell knows Where the Mangoes Are. "One of her unique talents
is her self-taught guitar playing, which is strung for a right-handed
player -- but she plays left-handed, upside down and backwards," Dave
notes. "McDonnell is a fine example of an artist who is both a very
good musician with a beautiful voice, and a very talented songwriter
who writes good melodies and intelligent lyrics that you want to pay
The Allman Brothers Band is playing Live at the Beacon Theatre, and
Gilbert Head was there via DVD. "After all these years, it remains true
that nobody does what the Allman Brothers Band does nearly as well," he
says, "and that is reason enough to add this selection to their canon."
Ann Rabson is In a Family Way for some "classic female blues," Carole
McDonnell announces. "Many of the lyrics are not only quite singable
but so succinct one could easily lift them from the song."
Stan Swiniarski visits Mexico for this "optimistic album, cheerful in
lyrics and tune," Sarah Meador relates. "Mexico is devoted to doing
what country does best, telling the story of everyday moments with
sincerity that makes them something more."
Erik Pekkari's Gubbstot "is an international album that proves the
universality of good tunes," Nicky Rossiter says. "There is something
magical about the tunes and performances here. It will transport you to
those Scandinavian long houses where couples in beautifully embroidered
finery danced gracefully on cold winter nights."
Bruno Coulais supplies the music for The Chorus (Les Choristes). "The
orchestral elements on Les Choristes leap out on the ear with all the
spiritual force of a Gregorian chant," Carole McDonnell remarks. "Add
the gorgeously celestial voices and the sound is almost retro-nostalgic
in its musical depiction of goodness and purity. It is all so sweet and
Celtic Colours is only a few weeks away! With that in mind, let's cap
off our coverage of last year's event with a review of the opening
gala, which Erika Rabideau was lucky enough to attend. "There was an
air of excitement...," she begins.
Norma Lorre Goodrich sets out to uncover The Holy Grail, but Daniel
Jolley thinks she missed her mark. "Goodrich employs a writing style
even more idiosyncratic and unwieldy than my own," he says. "Maybe an
expert in mediaeval literature would find this book much more
stimulating and relevant than I did."
Allen W. Trelease "makes a monumental effort to describe the
Reconstruction-era Klan" with White Terror: The Ku Klux Klan Conspiracy
& Southern Reconstruction, Daniel says. "This academic work is
invaluable in that it is the best and only source of all major Klan
activity from the end of the War for Southern Independence to the end
of Radical Reconstruction. ... Sadly, Trelease fails to take advantage
of his unique position, in which he could have written a scholarly,
enlightening portrait of the many facets of Klan activities and Klan
David Gerrold toys with the short-story motif in Alternate Gerrolds.
"He is one of those authors I was sure could never produce something
less than excellent," Robert Tilendis says. "So, the stories are
inventive, unexpected and well told, but I'm not at all sure that they
should have appeared together in this collection."
Sarah Micklem begins a new fantasy trilogy with Firethorn. "High
fantasy can often feel as though it is lost in the mists of the past,"
Laurie Thayer says. "Firethorn's crude language, however, gives it an
earthy immediacy but also can make it difficult reading in this age of
political correctness. This is an engrossing, powerful story, but not a
Carol Berg lost Robert with Guardians of the Keep, the second book in
Berg's The Bridge of D'Arnath series. "After wading through this volume
of the series, I have to say it suffers seriously from 'fat book'
syndrome: a case of many more words than story," he explains. "I didn't
find the style all that captivating, that I was willing to read page
after page of misery and grit." Say hey, Robert, and congratulations on
Rambles.NET review No. 50!
Wen Spencer's novel Dog Warrior is "both original and entertaining,"
Ron Bierman says. "She does it the old-fashioned way, with likeable
characters, good writing and an attention to realistic detail that
makes the reader more willing to accept the story's fantastic elements.
Spencer's use of the latter technique had me thinking of Stephen King
-- not too shabby a model for writers in the genre."
Joolz Denby exposes the murderer Billie Morgan in this "brilliantly
paced morality tale set among the mean streets and even meaner housing
estates of Bradford," new Rambles.NET writer Sean Walsh reveals.
"Ultimately, Billie Morgan is as taut and as finely wrought as a Greek
tragedy. Denby's Dickensian world, filled with a cast of perfectly
drawn characters ... is the backdrop for a powerful, cautionary tale
that unfolds with a delicious, sensitive mastery."
New Rambles.NET team member Stephen Richmond lingers In the Shadow of
Edgar Allan Poe. "This work takes the graphic novel genre to greater
heights," Stephen says. "This belongs in every public library
collection for young adults and in any collection of American literary
John Kantz and Chris Reid instruct us How Not to Draw Manga. "Presented
as a guidebook in comic style, How Not to Draw Manga covers the six
types of characters every manga uses, the importance of clothing and
the keys to accurate research, all with tongue firmly bitten off in
cheek," Sarah Meador explains. "The image of a leather-clad hero
fighting off zombies from the back of his flying whale deserves all the
room it can grab."
Tom Knapp suffers the tortures of Hell to bring you this review of
Constantine. "The movie tries to be mystical and oblique, but settles
for muttered, hard-to-hear dialogue and murky, hard-to-see scenes," Tom
complains. "Once again, Hollywood has sacrificed the strength of an
existing story, discarding stacks of good material and using only the
name to suck in the fans. In the end, Constantine has a couple of good
special effects and an endless succession of letdowns."
Tom also goes The Whole Ten Yards, and finds it lacking. "The plot is
fairly nonexistent, but revolves mostly around hostages, revenge and a
whole lot of money in a bank account somewhere," he says. "Otherwise,
there's some gunfights and chases and people hitting each other. For
extra good measure, there's some flatulence and homosexual paranoia.
Willis flashes his taut butt muscles. And there's Perry, falling down."
Confused? Read the review! (For Tom, this was not a good week for
Daniel Jolley stumbles into a few Lost Souls and an incredible movie.
"Anyone watching this film without at least some background in
Antichrist theorizing may struggle a little bit early on," he says. "It
is the plot and not special effects that drives this somber film,
giving it a level of intelligence far above that found in many a
sensationalist film on this fascinating topic. Lost Souls may not
entertain you, but it will certainly engage your mind."
That's all for another day here at Rambles.NET. Do hurry back!