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 13,000 reviews, interviews and
other bits of excitement.) See you there!
� � � MUSIC
Millish remains a bit of a mystery -- but a pleasant one, nonetheless
-- with this self-titled CD. "The name of both the band and CD,
Millish, seems to be a corruption of a Gaelic word meaning 'sweet,'
and listening to the eight tracks on offer here, this band lives up to
the title," Nicky Rossiter says.
"The band performs on the Celtic side of jazz, or the jazzy side of
Celtic -- take your pick."
Anne Walker negotiates a Labyrinth with this new, independent release.
"Her songs combine thoughtful, personal, honest lyrics with nice
melodies, and they have a timeless quality -- they sound like they
could have been written last week or 30 years ago," Dave Townsend says.
"Labryinth was produced by fellow Canadian and well-known folk
producer Paul Mills, who is best known for his work with artists
including Stan Rogers and Tanglefoot. Canada has given us quite a few
very talented female singer songwriters over the years and Anne
Walker's music is no exception. This is a very enjoyable CD."
Tim Eriksen "puts the traditional back into traditional music" with
Soul of the January Hills. "Light rarely shines on these hills. This
is the deep-shadows ballad world of violent death and earthly
suffering relieved only by the promise of eternal joy at the end of
life's journey (the recurring metaphor here). A scholar and
ethnomusicologist when not on stage or in recording studio, Eriksen
seeks out less-known material or arcane variants of the familiar,"
Jerome Clark says.
"Somehow, nonetheless, Soul is not too depressing to listen to. The
regular infusion of hymns -- though you have to listen to the words to
understand they are hymns because the sacred and secular drew from the
same well of melody in those days -- helps, naturally, but so does the
unadorned beauty of Eriksen's voice. That voice also makes listening
to 14 unaccompanied songs not at all the daunting prospect you would
think. Eriksen not only commands the repertoire but renders it wholly
Teeny Tucker uses "a superior set of blues genes, courtesy of her
father Tommy Tucker" to Keep the Blues Alive. "Her gifts, which are
considerable, are on display in this collection, as is her taste for
the sounds of 1960s Chicago, a rich and often overlooked period of
blues history. She's a tough, punchy singer who manages a rare vocal
restraint; she's not shouting, and she's certainly not shrieking.
Perhaps that's one way of saying she sounds as if she learned to sing
the blues by listening to blues artists and records, not by singing
high-decibel gospel in church," Jerome says.
"A warm and enjoyable CD, this one will please listeners who take soul
and sincerity over technique and bombast any time."
� � � FICTION
Justin Kramon launches a writing career with Finny. "Reading Finny,
you sort of feel that Charles Dickens has come back to life in 21st-
century America, spent time with F. Scott Fitzgerald and resumed his
career with this book. As the heroine makes her way through college,
some half-hearted stabs at a career and becomes entwined in the lives
of her friends, Finny struck me as a post-modern David Copperfield,"
says Michael Scott Cain.
"The odd thing is that it works; Finny is a touching novel, filled
with characters you'll remember."
Peter Straub made an indelible mark with the release of Koko. "Koko is
a brilliant novel by a brilliant author, a masterwork of horror, a
terrific ghost story in which all the best ghosts are still alive,"
Jay Whelan says.
"Koko is a rich novel, as full of symbolism and literary allusions as
most of Straub's work. It is also a long novel, which does tend to
wander from time to time. However, if you are patient and willing to
follow Straub on this long journey into the heart of darkness, the
rewards will be ample indeed."
Sally H.Taylor offers a pair of illustrated marvels for young readers
in The Magic in You! and The Most Valuable Treasure. "The
illustrations are marvelous, proving Taylor to be equally gifted as
both artist and author," Liana Metal remarks.
"Both books cater to all the family, both kids and adults. They are
definitely a beautiful and meaningful gift for everyone as the message
they bring out is both positive and helpful."
� � � GRAPHIC NOVELS
Tom Knapp offers up a pair of graphic novel reviews, beginning with
Disenchanted, the first volume in Matt Wagner's Madame Xanadu series
for Vertigo. "Disenchanted appears to serve mostly as a foundation for
Wagner's ongoing series. Having established the character and her
background -- as well as her involvement in the creation of the
Spectre -- Wagner has a little more freedom to play in her sandbox. It
seems likely the story will improve when he he stops reinventing her
past and starts plotting her present," Tom says.
"Amy Reeder Hadley supplies the art, and it's here the book really
shines. Highly detailed and expressive, she really brings these
characters to life. Simply gorgeous."
Tom goes on assignment with Moonstone's Kolchak, The Night Stalker in
Monsters Among Us. "The first tale, 'Night Stalker of the Living
Dead,' is exactly what you'd expect it to be, based on that title.
Kolchak heads to the fertile fields of Nebraska to interview a pop
star at a corn festival and finds himself up to his ears in zombies,"
Tom says. "The second tale is the inaptly named 'The Frankenstein
Agenda.' It's a good yarn, starting off with suspicions of Sasquatch
in the Pacific Northwest and turning into a whole 'nother kind of
creature feature of the 'secret military science' kind."
Tom adds: "I like Kolchak. And the folks at Moonstone are doing him up
right. Nice job, people."
� � � BIOGRAPHY
Elyn R. Saks shares a personal tale in The Center Cannot Hold: My
Journey Through Madness. "The publication of her memoir of a life with
schizophrenia and acute psychosis marks the first time that her
colleagues in the professional world will know of her diagnosis. For
decades, Saks lived as a mental patient, a shy woman with a small
circle of close friends, and as a high-achieving academic who
protected her psychological privacy at all costs," explains Jessica
"For years, schizophrenia was regarded as a grave life sentence.
Mothers were even blamed for creating schizophrenic children. Saks
notes that while there are many case studies and folk stories about
successful people with bipolar disorder, the stories about
accomplished schizophrenics are few. Thank you, Ms. Saks, for giving
us this story of hope and triumph."
� � � POETRY
Rolli presents an enigmatic collection of poetry in Plum Stuff. "Rolli
practices a style that is long on economy of words, but unfortunately,
that economy often left me baffled, staring at phrases and stanzas so
bereft of words that at times the poet's meaning was lost.
Unconventional style choices and non-standard spellings add to the
confusion," Belinda Christ states.
"In the end, I found myself thinking that Rolli's goal as a poet is to
be avant-garde. Unfortunately, his attempts to mold a new style seem
forced rather than organic, which gives Rolli's work an air of
� � � MOVIES
Daniel Jolley tackles another pair of horror films this week,
beginning withShrooms. "I have seen nothing but derogatory comments
about this film, but I foundShrooms to be a pretty fun little horror
movie. Sure, you don't have to have eaten a Deaths Head mushroom to
see prophetic visions of how the film will end, and the story doesn't
exactly break new ground in terms of character development, butShrooms
does have a suspenseful moment or two and I happen to believe that the
look and feel of the film (which some have decried as hopelessly
bland) creates the appropriate atmosphere for the setting and the
events that take place there," Daniel says.
"With the characters all befuddling their minds with psychedelic
mushroom delights, one can never be sure if what you are seeing is
real or a hallucination. ... Did I mention there's a talking cow?"
Daniel also continues to re-examine the Friday the 13th series with a
look at Friday the 13th, Part IV: The Final Chapter. "'Has the
diabolical Jason finally met his match?' Uh, no. Corey Feldman,
people; we are talking about Corey Feldman here. Of all the people on
the planet, Corey Feldman is just about the last person capable of
taking Jason out of the game. Truly, I had forgotten that Feldman was
Jason's main event opponent in this 'final chapter' of the series.
Rightly or wrongly, that just takes something away from what is
otherwise a darn good sequel's sequel's sequel," he says.
"As far as Jason is concerned, though, this marks some of his finest
work. He's fast, he's furious, he's expanding the scope and effect of
his murder techniques and -- most of all -- there's just no stopping
You think we're done? Ha!! Come back for more next week.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]