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Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" RSS Feed (Leicester England)
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The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings
The Complete Columbia Christmas Recordings
Price: $14.99
28 used & new from $10.41

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great easy listening album from the singer-actor, November 27, 2014
I am merely a music fan, not concerned with how entertainers perform on stage, screen or TV, so when they record music, I judge them purely for their music. I took a chance on this, not knowing anything about Robert Goulet prior to buying it, but sensing that I would probably like this album. It exceeded expectations. It contains all the tracks from two original albums plus five bonus tracks, of which the three duets with Robert's second wife are particularly appealing. The other two bonus tracks are mono versions of songs he included in the main Christmas albums, but with added product adverts.

Many of the songs will be familiar, though it's worth noting that Robert included the often-omitted first verse of White Christmas. Less obvious tracks include the two title tracks (This Christmas I spend with you, Wonderful world of Christmas), There's no place like home for the holidays (a cover of Perry Como's classic). December time. hurry Home for Christmas, Little Jesus sweetly sleep and He's gonna take away our Christmas.

This compilation therefore contains plenty of familiar songs plus a few that might be new to you if you haven't heard these albums before. The album has a decent booklet that discusses the music and Robert's career.

I am likely to buy more of Robert's music at some point. Meanwhile, this will always serve as a reminder of how good he is.


Merry Christmas (Expanded Edition)
Merry Christmas (Expanded Edition)
Price: $16.43
30 used & new from $6.88

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mellow sixties folk music, November 27, 2014
At one point in 1961, the Brothers Four were the second most popular folk group in America, with only the Kingston Trio ahead of them. At that point, they released their first Christmas-themed singe (Christmas bells / What child is this). It didn't chart, but they recorded two more sides (God rest ye merry, gentlemen / Go tell It on the mountain) in 1964. Those four tracks are included here as bonus tracks.

In 1966, the Brothers Four recorded an entire Christmas album of 12 tracks, leading off with a new recording of God rest ye merry gentlemen. Many of the songs will be familiar to you, although performed in the group's own style. However, there are some less obvious songs including The night is Christmas Eve (a Spanish song). Christmas is a-coming (of English origin, but they probably heard Harry Belafonte's version, as they admit to being fans of his music) and The borning day.

This is an excellent album of mellow Christmas music.


The Biscuit Girls
The Biscuit Girls
by Hunter Davies
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.81
74 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent social history based on six retired biscuit workers, November 27, 2014
This review is from: The Biscuit Girls (Paperback)
This book is not about the biscuit industry as such, although some of its history and products are featured, along with some information about Carlisle and its surrounding area. Apparently, the definitive history of the biscuit industry has yet to be written, although books about individual businesses have been written, and are listed at the end of the book.

I have no experience of the biscuit industry, but I once had a temporary job as a teenager in a jam tart factory (R and K Wise in Swindon, now closed), so I suppose that gives me some inkling of what a biscuit factory would be like.

The author looked for volunteers among people who had worked for Carr's in Carlisle, to tell them his story. Seven women volunteered but one dropped out when she decided that she didn't want to discuss her life story after all. In the old days, very few men worked there, though more do so now.

The stories told by the women are quite varied, but all seemed to think Carr's was wonderful to work for despite the boring factory work and modest pay. As no real thinking was needed most of the time, the women spent their time chatting while working. It wasn't all factory work, though. One of the women was eventually promoted out of the factory, to a position where she was more of a social worker, checking up on people who were off sick and looking after their needs. On one occasion, she was under instructions to bring back somebody's stool. She returned to Carr's with a kitchen stool. and never heard the last of it. As a leaving present when she retired, she was given a kitchen stool.

Inevitably, there are common threads to the various stories, but I didn't feel any repetition was excessive.

Take the biscuit, read the book. It makes great reading.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2015 2:02 AM PST


Christmas Grass 3
Christmas Grass 3
Price: $9.88
24 used & new from $4.73

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite of the three original Christmas grass albums, November 26, 2014
This review is from: Christmas Grass 3 (Audio CD)
The first album was mostly instrumental, with just one vocal track, while the second album was mostly vocal with three instrumental. This one is all vocal, with 3 Fox Drive's Kim Fox providing plenty of those vocals. It appears that this album marked the end of 3 Fox Drive, as I can't find any later albums by them, though there are some earlier ones.

If you own Christmas Grass: The Collection, you'll already have these versions of The Christmas song, Please come home for Christmas, One bright star and I'll be home for Christmas, but this album is still worth a listen for the other tracks here.

New star shining (a song also recorded by Ricky Skaggs) features Kim Fox duetting with Sonya Isaacs. O holy night and White Christmas are performed by 3 Fox Drive. Best of the lot may be the last track, again featuring 3 Fox Drive, this time with Charlie Daniels saying a few words near the end. In this song, Kim pretends to be the American flag. That sounds odd, but it works extremely well.

This is an excellent bluegrass Christmas album, but whatever happened to 3 Fox Drive?


Christmas Classical Voices
Christmas Classical Voices
Offered by IMS Distribution
Price: $22.17
30 used & new from $2.37

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent populist classical music, November 26, 2014
This compilation is firmly aimed at the mass market as classical music, like other specialist music genres, broadens its appeal at the risk of upsetting some of its traditional supporters. I like to listen to some of the traditional classical music occasionally, but I generally prefer the kind of musical music presented here.

I am very familiar with most of the music here, because I have several of the original Christmas albums from which this set is compiled, and even where I don't, I know most of the songs. However, I enjoy listening to compilations too, and had no hesitation in buying this, and I am very happy with it.

Many artists are represented by more than one track, notably Richard and Adam (four tracks including my favourite from their album, Once in royal David's city), Jonathan and Chorlotte (two duets and a solo track each), Katherine Jenkins, Susan Boyle, Il Divo, Alfie Boe, Placido Domingo, the Priests, Mario Lanzo, Jackie Evancho and Charlotte Church.

Looking at the track listing, I was surprised to find Leona Lewis among the artists, but her version of Schubert's Ave Maria sits comfortably among the other tracks here. I'd not heard the Vard sisters before, but they do a fine version of Amazing grace..

There is plenty of great music for those, like me, who appreciate classical music of this type.


Unforgettable
Unforgettable
Price: $12.68
26 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection of nostalgic music, November 25, 2014
This review is from: Unforgettable (Audio CD)
The music here includes two CDs that can be played at any time of year, plus a CD of Christmas music. The music throughout was mostly recorded in the fifties, but there is some earlier and some later.

I have most of these songs elsewhere, but I like this compilation anyway, so I bought it. While many of the tracks at first seem obvious, they include Green Green Grass Of Home (Tom Jones) where one might have expected It's not unusual, and Sailor (Petula Clark) rather than Downtown, and The Last Waltz (Engelbert Humperdinck) rather than Release me. I love the alternatives mentioned too, but the choices made suggest that a lot of thought went into this compilation. Also, Eartha Kitt is represented by Just An Old Fashioned Girl rather than the song she is best remembered for, Santa baby. Fantastic song as Santa baby is, I'm glad Just An Old Fashioned Girl was chosen.

This is a great collection, especially for fans of fifties pop music.


Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home
Price: $11.39
52 used & new from $1.33

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very positive album, November 25, 2014
This review is from: Home Sweet Home (Audio CD)
This album has several anthemic songs including Land of my fathers, Barcelona and World in Union, which reflect the mood of the album as a whole. All of the songs have a positive feel to them, although some of the songs are quite mellow.

Frank Sinatra and Julie Andrews are among the other artists who have recorded We'll gather lilacs in the Spring, a song by Welsh composer Ivor Novello, but it's great to hear this song again. Other great songs include Dreaming of the days, We are the champions and Ode to joy, but this is a great album from start to finish. The album ends with Slent night, which Katherine recorded a few years ago.

If you have enjoyed her earlier music, I expect you will enjoy this too.


My Dream Duets
My Dream Duets
Offered by B68 Solutions Limited
Price: $9.99
132 used & new from $2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album, but all of the guests are posthumous, November 24, 2014
This review is from: My Dream Duets (Audio CD)
The duet partners are (in track order) Jimmy Durante, Frankie Lymon, Mama Cass, Whitney Houston, John Denver, Judy Garland, Andy Williams, Dusty Springfield, Sammy Davis, Marilyn Monroe and Louis Armstrong.

Duets created using posthumous masters are nothing new, but I think this may be the first time that an artist has recorded a whole album, each featuring a different posthumous guest. While I'm not wildly keen on the basic idea, it can work and it certainly works well here. I could do without the spoken intro at the start of the first track, but what follows is far better than some posthumous duets.

For me, Moon river (with Andy Williams) works best of all, followed by Sunshine on my shoulders (with John Denver) and The look of love (with Dusty Springfield), but all the tracks are very well put together.

I wasn't sure if I really wanted this album, but I'm really glad that I bought it.


Hope
Hope
Offered by Great Price Media
Price: $7.99
163 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great album of inspirational songs, November 24, 2014
This review is from: Hope (Audio CD)
This is another covers album, which is what we've come to expect and enjoy from Susan, but within the basic theme of the album, there are a couple of song choices that surprised and pleased me.

The first and biggest surprise is Wish you were here. There have been other songs with that title, but this is the Pink Floyd song. It would never have occurred to me that Susan would cover a Pink Floyd song, but this choice is itself inspirational choice and gets the album off to a magnificent start.

Another choice that surprised me, but I'm also pleased to see it, is Will the circle be unbroken. It is a traditional folk / country song and ever since the Carter family recorded it in 1929 or thereabouts, it has been covered by any number of country singers, but I don't hear it very often by other types of singer. Again, magnificent.

Elsewhere, there are great covers of Angel, Imagine, Bridge over troubled water, Oh happy dsy and The impossible dream, among others.


Johnny 99
Johnny 99
Price: $8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine album from Johnny Cash, November 22, 2014
This review is from: Johnny 99 (MP3 Music)
The first track (Highway patrolman) and the title track are both excellent songs that were written by Bruce Springsteen. I note (Highway patrolman's message about standing by your family through thick and thin, but it's not that simple, because sometimes nasty things happen within families. Another song here, God bless Robert E Lee, mentions how families were split in the American Civil War, with members on opposing sides. That song is probably my favorite here.

Other great songs include Johnny gone Barbados (about an industrial dispute), Brand new waltz (with June Carter), New cut road (a Guy Clark song) and I'm ragged but I'm tight (a George Jones song),

Fantastic.


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