6 August 2011
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� � � MUSIC
A music legend gets his due on Long Gone: Utah Remembers Bruce "Utah"
Phillips. "Produced by veteran Utah musician Kate MacLeod at the
invitation of Phillips's son Duncan, himself a folk singer, the 18
cuts of Long Gone revive Phillips originals, along with the Duncan
composition that gives the CD its title," Jerome Clark says.
"Straightforward and unaffected, the performances rely on no more than
acoustic guitar, voice and sincerity. Hearing them, one feels as if
sitting in a living room with friends as each remembers his or her
most beloved Phillips tune. One expects that Phillips would have
wanted that kind of tribute."
Bob Dylan is the focus of two albums reviewed this week: Tell Tale
Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 and A Nod to Bob 2: An Artists'
Tribute to Bob Dylan on His 70th Birthday. "In recent years, as the
Dylan industry has overseen the reissuing of a host of outtakes,
alternate versions, concert material and other obscurities in the self-
mockingly titled 'Bootleg Series,' the effect on many Dylanists,
including me, has been a surely unintended mounting frustration with
much of Dylan's 'official' discography. A case in point: when you
listen to the two-disc Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8, pay
particular attention to the alternate versions of songs from his
albums of recent decades, then ask yourself, Isn't just about every
one of these a considerable improvement on its "official" equivalent?"
"A modest proposal: Head on over to A Nod to Bob 2. I haven't listened
to every Dylan tribute, nor do I want to, but permit me to declare
with no immediately discernible reservation that this is the best one
I've heard. (The first Nod to Bob, released a decade ago, was good,
too, but as practically never happens, the sequel tops the original.)"
The Moon & the Nightspirit promotes Hungarian pagan music on Osforras.
"Whether you speak Hungarian or not, this world music volume will
evoke night spirits and woodland dreams," Becky Kyle says.
"Agnes, the female vocalist, has a power and range that's daunting to
describe. Her powerful voice is an evocative instrument in itself. The
male vocalist, Mihaly, uses his voice as backup, beautifully weaving a
lower counterpoint and sometimes singing percussively along with the
� � � FICTION
Ann Halam gets bit by a Snakehead. "If your young adult readers (and
those young at heart) haven't gotten enough of the Percy Jackson
series, Ann Halam's Snakeheadoffers another glimpse into Greek
mythos," says Becky Kyle.
"Back as a young-adult reader, I could not get enough of mythology.
There's a good bit sprinkled within these pages, while the stories of
some little-touched characters are expanded and elucidated. Snakehead
is a fascinating read, and one I think all ages will appreciate."
Ed Lynskey casts an eye over Lake Charles. "A violent, action-filled
thriller ensues," says Michael Scott Cain.
"If you're a reader who isn't bothered by prose that periodically
strangles up your mind, you'll find a lot to like in Lake Charles. I
couldn't get past the use of language."
P.G. Wodehouse sets sail with Three Men & a Maid, also known as The
Girl on the Boat. "A beautiful young red-haired woman is wooed by
three men. Much of the action takes place on a cruise ship traveling
from New York to London. Now, at least, you know the basis for this
short novel's two titles," Tom Knapp says.
"The characters are purposely shallow and laughably entertaining.
Wodehouse himself appears in the story as its chronicler; he narrates
with a great many first-person asides to his readers -- a conceit that
some readers will love, although I personally found intrusive. Still,
the overall tone of the book is delightful, and I encourage folks to
sample this frothy and entertaining example of Wodehouse's early work."
� � � GRAPHIC NOVELS
Mary Harvey has A History of Violence. "In the story of Tom McKenna,
history and tragedy are inextricably intertwined. McKenna's past may
contain a secret whose influence unfolds into the present in a clear
chain of cause-and-effect. Sometimes history is a tragedy in and of
itself," Mary Harvey remarks.
"The self-referential title certainly lives up to its name in both
theme and content. The violence is as frequent as it is graphic. This
novel is definitely for mature readers only."
� � � MOVIES
Mary Harvey is quite pleased with the new Marvel Comics flick, Captain
America: The First Avenger. "Though it's lacking in a couple of areas,
Captain America is a solid summer flick that does a better than
average job at spinning a good comic-book yarn. Chris Evans was a good
choice for the title role, fairly radiating sincerity, honesty and
bravery," she says.
"It isn't a masterpiece but it's pretty well-done, and lots of fun
besides. In fact, it's exactly like the sort of movies that were made
in the World War II era in which CA is set."
Molly Ebert switches to the latest DC Comics hero on the silver
screen: Green Lantern, which doesn't stack up well against the
competition. "Simplicity isn't necessarily a bad thing, but simple can
quickly morph into boring. In combination with its borderline boring
story, the Green Lantern's jumpy plot line and flat characters do
little to make our imaginations light up and our pulses race with
anticipation," she says.
"As the leading man, Reynold's isn't charismatic enough to make us
overlook the film's mediocre plot. He doesn't yet have a star persona
grand enough to save a film (unlike, for example, Robert Downey Jr. in
the Iron Man series)."
You think we're done? Ha!! Come back for more next week.
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