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Rambles.NET: 5 February 2011

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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 , Feb 4, 2011

      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

      Jeana Leslie and Siobhan Miller bring a taste of Scotland to the
      proceedings withShadows Tall. "Here is another excellent exposition of
      the best in Scottish music and song from a pair of accomplished
      performers," Nicky Rossiter says.

      "This is a beautiful set of songs and tunes expertly performed with
      feeling and packaged to perfection by Greentrax. You just cannot go

      The John Hartford Stringband shares Memories of John. "When he died of
      cancer on June 4, 2001, he left many friends behind. Hartford was
      loved as a man and admired as a musician. Memories of John movingly
      recalls both," Jerome Clark says.

      "If Memories amounts to a well-nigh perfect send-off, it only
      underscores the dimension of the loss American music suffered when
      John Hartford left us. If you don't know his music, here's a fine
      place to start."

      Dead Men's Hollow provides the Angels' Share in this new offering.
      "For many years, a PBS station in Washington, D.C., ran a Sunday
      morning program called Stained Glass Bluegrass, which consisted solely
      of bluegrass gospel music. Evidently, the members of Dead Men's Hollow
      were listening," Michael Scott Cain reports.

      "How are the results? In a word, brilliant. The album features their
      trademark three- and four-part harmony lead vocals and beautiful
      playing, with Marci Cochran's fiddle almost another lead voice.
      Although the songs are mostly band-composed originals, they sound like
      traditional, old-time gospel."

      Jenny Davis is getting Inside You with her sound. "Davis has a clear,
      strong voice, and she uses jazz inflections to liven up these
      standards," Dave Howell says.

      "This light but musically hip CD should appeal to all fans of jazz
      vocals." Congratulations, Dave, for review No. 200!

      � � � FICTION

      Emily Diamand sets sail with a Raiders' Ransom, a young-adult novel
      set in the future, following a cataclysmic flood. "There are more
      coincidences than I'd like in this story, but otherwise, it's a
      pleasure to read. Diamand does a good job developing her two main
      characters -- Lilly and Zeph alternate as narrator, so readers get
      both points of view -- and she has begun building a world that is just
      packed with potential," Tom Knapp says -- despite some niggling

      "A sequel is in the works, and I hope Diamand takes a little more time
      to explain the specifics of her fascinating (and damp) new world and
      the societies within. She has the grist for an exceptional series of
      young-adult novels ... and I'm already hooked."

      Julien Longo begins The Goddess Chronicles with Hera. "Longo takes
      members of the Greek pantheon and turns them into unrelated mortals
      living in Atlantis," Whitney Mallenby says.

      "Hera succeeds in offering a very thorough and provocative alternate
      universe for these well-known characters. Longo's ideas read clearly
      without going over-the-top. In fact, learning these concepts through
      Hera's perspective lends itself to a light and easy reading pace. On
      the other hand...."

      H. Terrell Griffin shares a Bitter Legacy with his readers. "Raymond
      Chandler once wrote that when things slow down in your novel, bring in
      a man with a gun. For him, the man with a gun was metaphorical; what
      he meant was find a way to ramp up the tension," says Michael Scott

      "For H. Terrell Griffin, however, the gun is literal. So many people
      pop up firing guns at each other in his novel,Bitter Legacy, that it
      leads you to believe that the whole population of Longboat Key,
      Florida, where the novel takes place, is armed and dangerous."

      David Brin continues The Uplift Saga with Startide Rising. "I just
      read Startide Rising for the second time, and again I was blown away
      by how fantastic it really is. This book is full of the ideas that
      make science fiction what it is: Interesting characters who have
      actual personalities instead of cookie-cutter mannerisms, a premise
      whose most intriguing elements are revealed slowly, pulling the reader
      along (I hate books that read like a bad made-for-TV movie!) and oh,
      about a hundred other things that make Startide a compulsively
      readable joy, more than worthy of the awards it has won," Jay Whelan

      "I have little doubt that in 50 years or so, Startide (as well as the
      rest of the Uplift Saga) will be mentioned in the same breath as the
      Foundation series, the Rama series and the Dune saga. It's that good
      -- no, strike that. It's that great."

      � � � GRAPHIC NOVELS

      Mary Harvey picks up the tab for a night at the Moving Pictures.
      "Individually and together, Kathryn and Stuart Immonen have created
      comics for just about everyone, with Stuart's run on DC's League of
      Superheroes and Kathryn's Hellcat series for Marvel being among the
      most well-known of their many projects. Moving Pictures, first
      serialized on their website in 2008, is like nothing they have done
      before," she says.

      "I could see Moving Pictures being staged as a play. The incredible
      dialogue, the emotional complexity, the fact that most of the action
      happens in closed rooms and tunnels, all lend itself to the vitality
      of the stage. It's heavy but not heavy-handed. I predict that this
      will be one of the most-awarded graphic novels of the year, a no-
      brainer because it's certainly one of the best in many years. A fine,
      moving and not-to-be-missed story, excellently told by two of the best
      in the business."

      Tom Knapp, meanwhile, is not impressed with Athena. "The story just
      never gels. It's sort of like Dynamite's take on Marvel's Thor, only
      Athena is hotter and wears fewer clothes. Oh, and Thor tries to tell a
      story, while Athena just walks around with her butt on display while a
      lame Trojan War remake goes on around her," he says.

      "I can't see a reason to recommend this one unless you really like
      cartoon asses."


      Dave Thompson shares The Wit & Wisdom of Ozzie Osborne. "Well, here it
      is: 174 pages of quotations from Ozzie Osborne, arranged sort of
      chronologically so that it adds up to an oral history of Osborne's
      career," says Michael Scott Cain.

      "It's easy to laugh at Ozzie Osborne, easy to think of him as a rock
      casualty and to dismiss him as a brain-dead freak. The fact is,
      though, he comes across in these pages as a self-aware, intelligent
      and very funny man who might have put himself through hell, but
      learned from the experience, changed the way he was living and refuses
      to either lie about or apologize for his past."

      � � � MOVIES

      Daniel Jolley passes the witching hour with Midnight's Child. "Being a
      super-huge fan of The Wonder Years, I was eager to watch this film
      once I learned that Olivia d'Abo (who played Karen Arnold on the show)
      was the primary player in the drama. Had I known this was a Lifetime-
      produced movie with Victoria Principal as executive producer, or that
      d'Abo would be speaking in a questionable fake Swedish accent
      throughout, I might have had second thoughts, but what I didn't know
      didn't kill me," he says.

      "As much vitriol as some pour out on Midnight's Child, I didn't think
      it was all that bad of a movie. I'm not saying it's a new favorite of
      mine because it most certainly isn't, but it is certainly watchable
      (albeit ultimately disappointing)."

      Dan also takes a look at another in the Nature Unleashed series,
      Earthquake. "High on the list of things you don't want to bring
      together are Russian nuclear plants and earthquakes -- unless you want
      to make a disaster film. Just make sure your writer and director
      understand that you want a disaster film rather than a film disaster,"
      he says.

      "OK, maybe film disaster is a little too strong of a phrase, but
      Nature Unleashed: Earthquake is an average film at best. I don't know
      about the earthquake itself, but the movie hits at least a 9.0 on the
      Richter scale of film cliches."

      You think we're done? Ha!! Come back for more next week.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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