Showing posts from April, 2014

Album Reviews

I've bought a few albums lately - so here is a quick catch up review on all of them. John Mayer - Paradise Valley Ok this has been out a while but I listened to on Spotify and I have to be honest I wasn't initially smitten with it.  However I did pop back to it a few times and it grew on me, so when I saw that it had dropped to about £6 for the CD on Amazon and with their terrific AutoRip service (see below) I bought it and I have to say, it's been on big rotation on my car CD player.  So what is this?  John at his country rock best frankly.  Well crafted songs with great singing and some stonking strat guitar work.  If you liked 461 Ocean Boulevard era Eric Clapton try this - like I say though give it a few listens.  Who You Love and Paper Doll are my top picks off this. Oysterband - Diamonds on the Water Any of you old enough to remember "Day trip to Bangor"?  Yes that old oddity hit from 1979. If you do then here's a tricky one to swallow... there i

Book Review - Rasputin's Shadow by Raymond Khoury

I've read a lot of Mr Khoury's books in the past.  My favourite of his is The Sign - which is a really good book, with some thought provoking themes. This one follows on from the two Templar Novels and the Devil's Elixir.  However again there is a small level of linkage - firstly Sean Reilly is the main hero but his partner Tess Chaykin that has featured as a co-hero in the previous novels is not even a bit player... she is totally reduced to "the lady at home looking after the kids" - feminists might not be best pleased with this character "development" :-/ Anyway... the story has an interesting idea at its heart.  How was Rasputin so successful in his life?  How did a penniless pretty much illiterate peasant come to be the trusted confident and advisor to the Tzar and Tzarina of Russia?  History tells us that his ability to help control their sons haemophilia was the key.  This book proposes an interesting theory as to exactly how that worked. Fa

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers - Vince Hawkins

An Atheists Unofficial Guide to AA for Oldtimers - Vince Hawkins First the disclaimer - this book is NOT conference approved AA literature. I bought this book because.. a) it was recommended by someone who I have tremendous respect for - 19 years sobriety and one of those AA oldtimers I admire.  He is an atheist and makes no bones about it, sharing appropriately about his atheism in meetings - in an encouraging way for those still early on in the programme etc. b) it is written by someone I know in AA, he has moved away from our local groups but was about when I was new in and again someone who I have big respect for. I found this a really helpful book.  Let me put this in context - if you are entering the AA programme or have been on it a while but find all the "God" thing a worry then this is a good book to read - I'd recommend it even if you don't consider yourself an atheist but are not someone to whom regular organised religion is attractive for whatever

Rodrigo Aranjuez Concerto Live Performance (+playlist)

The brilliant Richard Durrant plays the Rodrigo Concerto - and proves he can perform wearing shoes!  He really is one of the best classical guitarists around today

Rochester Music Cafe Band

Video from the Rochester Music Cafe event I did back in February...

Book Review - The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith

... or should I say JK Rowling.  I believe Ms Rowling was most unhappy about her cover being blown.  In the end I only bought this as it was the Kindle deal of the day when I looked at a time of needing some new reading material so it sat on the Kindle until I decided to read it. It is a good detective thriller.  At times early on the author seems to be over trying to sound clever I feel a bit - and it is funny that for me that came and went over the first few chapters but once settled down so I'm not having to look up too many words (that heavens for the built in Kindle dictionary) it is a good British book. One thing of interest to me straight away is that the main hero of the book is a private dectective, ex soldier who was badly injured in Afganistan.  But my interest peaked because... his office is supposedly in Denmark Street.  Anyone who knows London and knows about music knows Denmark Street for ages associated with song writing, recording and now the mecca of music sho