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1 October 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 30 10:18 AM
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      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
      attention to."

      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
      comfortable one."

      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!
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