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2 September 2006

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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 1, 2006

      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 9,400 reviews, interviews and
      other bits of excitement.) See you there!

      Edel Fox and Ronan O'Flaherty stick to the basics of fiddle and
      concertina on their self-titled CD debut. "Their self-titled CD is a
      testament to simple arrangements of mostly traditional tunes, recorded
      here without a lot of bells and whistles coming between the music and
      the listener's ear," Tom Knapp says. "It's pure, it's well-constructed,
      it's fun -- and it's the sort of thing anyone looking for the heart and
      soul of Irish session music will crave."

      Randall Bramblett has aspirations to be Rich Someday. "The sound is
      mostly mainstream guitar rock, with soul, r&b and folk inflections,"
      Jerome Clark says. "None of this sounds radically inventive, and you'd
      have to be sternly misanthropic to object to any of it. It's all good
      melodies, good lyrics and good arrangements, and Bramblett's graceful,
      expressive vocals charm the ears."

      Carrie Rodriguez may not know from the heads of pins, but she can fit
      Seven Angels on a Bicycle. "Rodriguez is best known for her recordings
      with Chip Taylor," Jerome states. "Though still recognizably a
      folk-accented record ... Seven Angels manages to infuse rock, jazz and
      classic-pop elements into the mix with altogether organic ease."

      Naama Hillman invites us all into her Living Room for a bit of music.
      "Hillman's voice instantly reminded me of Sarah McLachlan," Mike Wilson
      says. "My initial feelings were borne out through the entire album, and
      the similarity with McLachlan extends beyond the sound of their voices
      to both the quality of material and production; Living Room is the
      equal of anything McLachlan has produced in recent years -- a promising
      sign given that this is Naama's debut album, and a self-produced effort
      at that."

      Kathryn Mostow believes there are Dreamers Everywhere. "Mostow has a
      warm soprano voice that is smooth and easy to listen to; she also plays
      the acoustic guitar on the CD," says Paul de Bruijn. "The music drapes
      wonderfully around her vocals, supporting and giving back to her voice."

      Petrella offers its Dreams of the Heartland with "a deep-dish country
      sound," says Virginia MacIsaac. "She's definitely a country singer, but
      her voice has an urban twang and you can't listen to her without
      thinking of Tina Turner."

      Brenda Russell finds herself Between the Sun & the Moon on this vocal
      jazz recording. The album "mixes different styles to form a totally
      new, interesting sound," says Ester Eggert.

      Bob Masteller and his musical pals go live on The Jazz Corner Swings
      Latin. "If you are looking for some good, safe jazz, this CD would be a
      good choice," says Paul de Bruijn. "If you are in their neck of the
      woods, go hear them perform live." Claps for Paul and his 150th
      Rambles.NET review!

      Faust is a band of three Swedish folk musicians who celebrated their
      10th anniversary with the release of a new album, Vildsint. "Most of
      the tracks on the album are traditional tunes, but you can also find
      some modern compositions and traditional songs," Adolf Goriup says.
      "The CD is a wonderful collection of original folk music from the

      Corinne H. Smith invites us to join her to see Sammy Hagar and Michael
      Anthony perform live in Scranton, Pa. "Hagar is hands-down the
      fan-friendliest performer in popular music," she says. "Concert-goers
      can't help but get caught up in his frenzy."

      Joan Druett covers a great deal of ground in She Captains: Heroines &
      Hellions of the Sea. "The story of the sea is dominated by men, but
      Druett shows here how the numerous roles of women should not be
      overlooked," Tom Knapp says. "Neither dry nor boring, She Captains is a
      colorful tapestry of maritime history."

      Hana Schank lays it all on the table in A More Perfect Union: How I
      Survived the Happiest Day of My Life. "I read this book just a year
      after planning my own wedding, and I had repeated moments of
      identification with Schank's experience," says Jessica Lux-Baumann. "I
      would have loved to have this book as a bride-to-be."

      Sarah Monette picks up where she left off with Mildmay the Fox and his
      half-brother Felix Harrowgate in The Virtu. "Like its predecessor, this
      novel is narrated by Felix and Mildmay in turns, but there is never any
      confusion as to which character is speaking. Both men are
      reprehensible, and yet totally engaging and sympathetic to the reader,"
      says Laurie Thayer. "Nor is characterization the only talent on display
      here. Carefully detailed worldbuilding, right down to two differing --
      but synchronized -- calendar systems, also helps to keep the reader

      Julie Kenner's Carpe Demon "is an obvious riff on the Buffy genre," Tom
      Knapp says. "What sets Carpe Demon apart is Kate's family circumstance,
      as well as a busy lifestyle that doesn't leave much time for slaying.
      But with the help of a geriatric former hunter, a martial arts dogo, a
      spritzer of holy water and a fully-gassed minivan, she just might get
      the job done and have time to make dinner, change diapers and tidy up
      the den."

      Cameron Dokey makes a new entry into Once Upon a Time with Golden --
      but this one doesn't compare well to his previous novels, Jennifer Mo
      says. "Golden is a pleasant enough way to kill an hour, though it
      offers no brilliant reflections on "Rapunzel" and is easily surpassed
      by other books even in the things it does modestly well."

      Robina Williams makes her religious arguments through Jerome & the
      Seraph. "Anyone who's read the Chronicles of Narnia or has taken a
      basic philosophy course has already examined the questions that Jerome
      and Quant spend pages debating in Jerome & the Seraph. These tired
      epiphanies might be excusable if the debate between Jerome and Quant
      were challenging or in any way novel," says Sarah Meador. "This
      pedantry is more annoying because Robina Williams is not a bad writer."

      Greg Bear makes his coming-of-age story special by adding a Dinosaur
      Summer or two to the mix. "The pace of the book is quick, and character
      development is quite good," longtime fan Chris McCallister states. "The
      coming-of-age story is very well done, and it blends in seamlessly with
      the adventure. The setting is also described lushly and elaborately,
      without bogging the story down in detail."

      John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany is a classic in good standing.
      "What can be said about this literary masterpiece?" asks Jessica
      Lux-Baumann. "Despite its length, the plot will grab the reader and
      suck them in to the world of the one-of-a-kind Meany and the people who
      were touched by his short time on Earth."

      Sarah Meador ties up the loose ends between Firefly and Serenity with
      Serenity: Those Left Behind, a fill-in graphic novel. "Will Conrad does
      an excellent job of capturing not just the actors, but the characters,
      with every expression and gesture recognizable," Sarah says. "The
      dialogue and story by Brett Matthews and series creator Joss Whedon are
      unsurprisingly faithful to the spirit and canon of everything that's
      gone before. And for those who've seen the movie, there's a nice nod
      towards what's coming next."

      Tom Knapp sings a dirge for Gen13 with this September Song. "The Gen13
      comic series had a couple things going for it -- two of them notably
      exposed through the oft-torn costume of team leader Caitlin Fairchild
      -- but the series ultimately fizzled and lost reader interest. Rather
      than build on the title's strengths and improve the stories, WildStorm
      opted to kill off the entire team ... and start fresh with a new batch
      of teens," Tom says. "Enter September Song, an ill-conceived notion
      from day one."

      Tom joins up with the Great Lakes Avengers in Misassembled. "On one
      hand, it's a comic approach to superheroing with a team of misfit
      heroes, much like the Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis incarnation of
      DC's Justice League," Tom says. "On the other hand, the book has a
      darker side, in which several of these hapless good guys keep dying.
      ... The book has an edgier brand of humor of the sort that will drive a
      good many parents into a frenzy."

      Paddy O'Furniture takes a laid-back look at comics as they make the
      transition from paper to celluloid. "If you've been to the movies in
      the last few years -- or even if you haven't -- you're likely aware
      that we're currently in the middle of a glut of films based on comic
      books. So it stands to reason an unrepentant comic geek like me should
      be quite pleased with the state of summer cinema these days, right?
      Well, not so much." Find out why in this insightful rambling!

      Tom Knapp wants to keelhaul the scurvy dog who doesn't know the
      difference between Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman -- and he has a
      few more things to say about Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's
      Chest. "Unfortunately, while Black Pearl offered a jolly mix of action,
      humor and horror-lite, Chest has bungled the formula," he says. "There
      is far too much action without purpose, based on the flawed theory that
      an action movie can succeed as long as there is enough running around
      to a bombastic score."

      Daniel Jolley says it's no honeymoon with the 2005 remake of The
      Honeymooners. "Here we have one of the most ill-conceived remakes in
      history, a truly forgettable film exploiting a well-known, much-loved
      commodity for money (and very little of it, as things turned out)," he
      says. "Exploiting may not be the right word for me to use here,
      however; it's not as if this movie sought out to make fun of the
      original series, and the transformation of the Kramdens and Nortons
      into middle-class African-Americans carries no kind of overt or
      underlying statement whatsoever. The only problem with this odd movie
      is its failure to be very funny."

      Check back next week for another rollicking edition of Rambles.NET
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