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Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" RSS Feed (Leicester England)

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The Country Collection
The Country Collection
Price: $10.49

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sampling of Mary's country recordings, November 18, 2014
This review is from: The Country Collection (MP3 Music)
Mary Duff is familiar to Daniel O'Donnell's fans because they have recorded a couple of duet albums together and they share concert tours. However, rather like Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton in the seventies, their business relationship is strictly professional.

Compilation titles don't always mean what they say, but this compilation definitely focuses on country music. That means it focuses primarily on her early music from 1988 to 1995 and her 2007 album, Just a country girl, because those are her country albums. At other times, Mary recorded some country music, but also plenty of pop music too. I enjoy her pop music, but you won't find it here. The album also includes five of her duets with Daniel.

As I not only have many of the songs in their original American versions, but I also have several of Mary's earlier releases, not forgetting other cover versions, I am very familiar with the vast majority of these songs, but I never get tired of them. Some of the choices made by Mary when she recorded them were the obvious songs, like the three Patsy \Cline songs, but the three Dolly Parton songs (Chicken every Sunday, Yellow roses, Silver and gold) are more imaginative choices.

Mary Duff has been very successful at a certain level for many years, without becoming a really big star. This compilation shows that Mary performs country music superbly.

Ride This Train
Ride This Train
Offered by SONY Music Entertainment Downloads LLC.
Price: $6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not train songs, but a great album, November 18, 2014
This review is from: Ride This Train (MP3 Music)
Ride this train (released on LP in 1960) is not a collection of train songs but an imaginary tour to various locations around America. At each location, Johnny sings a song about something that happened there. As such, this is a very varied collection of songs that don't have anything in common except that they explore America's history. This is fair enough as it was Johnny's first such album. As we've seen, Johnny subsequently went on to record albums exploring specific aspects of American history.

My favorite song is Dorraine of Ponchartrain. The sadness of this song is heightened by its length - around five minutes. It remains one of my all-time favorite Johnny Cash songs but you probably won't find it on any of his many compilations. It's not that kind of song. The original LP contained just eight songs, perhaps because the length of some of them, together with the narration between tracks, meant that there wasn't room for any more.

Some versions contain two extra tracks, one of which (Come and ride this train) was maybe intended to be the title track of the original album. The other extra track (The shifting whispering sands) is a duet with Lorne Greene. Johnny later re-recorded this song for another album (Ballads of the true west). These two tracks are not included here.

This is one of Johnny's best albums, and is recognized as such by a lot of people.

Silent Night Holy Night
Silent Night Holy Night
Price: $2.99
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent bluesy Christmas album, November 18, 2014
This review is from: Silent Night Holy Night (Audio CD)
These recordings were made in 1955-56 and show Mahalia in peak form. Although one song is titled The holy babe, you'll recognize it as a variation on Go where I send thee or Children go where I send thee.

The other tracks include the rarely recorded No room at the inn and two other songs (I wonder as I wander, Sweet little Jesus boy) that don't come round too often. The remaining tracks are mostly famous classics, but this is a Mahalia Jackson album, and she recorded them in her own, very distinctive, style.

There are other releases of her Christmas music with more or different tracks, but this at least give you a sense of her music. It is my first CD of her music and it won't be my last.

Shipwreck: A History of Disasters at Sea
Shipwreck: A History of Disasters at Sea

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short stories about shipwrecks through the ages, November 17, 2014
Books that tell short stories risk not being able to say enough for serious students while saying too much for the simply curious. I cannot speak for the serious students, as I don't know enough about the subject, but whole books have been written about some of them.

I have previously read And the band played on, about the aftermath of the Titanic sinking for one family and their descendants, but it didn't cover the events up to the sinking and I didn't mind that. I knew that I could read about it at any time. It's here, albeit as a short story. I have also read a book about the Spanish Armada, although I don't think the specific ship that is featured in this book was mentioned. I've also read a book about Churchill, the Dardanelles debacle and whether he was at fault or not; the author thinks not. Although several ships were sunk, that episode is not covered here. A book about a major train crash made a brief mention of the Lusitania sinking, which happened earlier the same month, while the Dardanelles debacle was still recent.

That covers the books I'd read that have some connection to shipwrecks. I also knew about others including the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in Alaska, the Herald of Free Enterprise ferry sinking in the English Cannel and the Marchioness disaster involving riverboats in the Thames. None of these feature in the book, but the oldest shipwreck I remember is the Torrey Canyon, another oil tanker spill, this time near south-west England, which is featured here. It was apparently the first major oil tanker disaster in history, because earlier generations of oil tankers had been much smaller. Politicians and experts of all kinds were clueless and forced on to a steep learning curve. The book claims that a lot of lessons were learned. Maybe so, but this was more than 20 years before Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in Alaska.

Apart from the Torrey Canyon, the Spanish Armada and the Titanic, there are plenty of great stories covering a wide variety of shipwreck types, although I noticed that none were ferries. I didn't necessarily expect the Herald of Free Enterprise to be featured, but I thought one would be included. Perhaps the author counted the evacuation ship that sank at the end of WW2 counted as a ferry. Never mind, the book is so good that I'm not going to knock a star off for that.

This would be a great starter for anybody wanting to learn about shipwrecks, but I suspect it will appeal to plenty of peoplw who already follow the subject.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 19, 2014 6:07 AM PST

Real Jim Reeves
Real Jim Reeves
Price: $14.77
36 used & new from $1.68

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great triple CD, November 17, 2014
This review is from: Real Jim Reeves (Audio CD)
I get the impression that Jim Reeves is less popular in America than in some other parts of the world such as the UK, where this compilation was released. Back when Jim was alive, different countries released different tracks as singles. Some songs, a prime example being I love you because, had already been hits for other artists in America, so were dismissed there as cover versions, but these songs were unknown elsewhere and were often promoted as singles instead of the original material that was being promoted in America. Fair enough, but it explains why compilations of Jim's music sometimes vary so widely according to the country of release. All that said, this being a 60-track compilation, it has room for all the big hits from both the UK and USA and appears to include everything that really matters.

I'll admit that while I am acountry music fan first and foremost, I tend to prefer Jim's later recordings even though they are more pop-sounding. Here, you get the full range and can judge for yourself, if you haven't already made up your mind.

This, therefore, provides a gread selection of Jim's music.


CD 1

1. Mexican Joe
2. Bimbo
3. Then I'll Stop Loving You
4. Penny Candy
5. Drinking Tequila
6. Yonder Comes a Sucker
7. I'm Hurtin' Inside
8. My Lips Are Sealed
9. According to My Heart
10. Mother of a Honky Tonk Girl - with Carol Johnson
11. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?
12. Am I Losing You
13. Waiting For a Train
14. Four Walls
15. Two Shadows on Your Window
16. Young Hearts
17. Anna Marie
18. Overnight
19. I Love You More
20. Blue Boy

CD 2

1. He'll Have to Go
2. Billy Bayou
3. A Fool Such As I
4. I'd Like to Be
5. Home
6. Partners
7. I'm Beginning to Forget You
8. I'm Gettin' Better
9. I Know One
10. I Missed Me
11. The Blizzard
12. Losing Your Love
13. Danny Boy
14. Adios Amigo
15. I'm Gonna Change Everything
16. You're the Only Good Thing (That's Happened to Me)
17. I'll Fly Away
18. Is This Me
19. Guilty
20. (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover

CD 3

1. Welcome to My World
2. I Love You Because
3. Distant Drums
4. I Guess I'm Crazy
5. Not Until the Next Time
6. Love Is No Excuse - with Dottie West
7. There's a Heartache Following Me
8. I Won't Forget You
9. This Is It
10. Is It Really Over?
11. It Hurts so Much (To See You Go)
12. Snowflake
13. Blue Side of Lonesome
14. I Won't Come In While He's There
15. I Heard a Heart Break Last Night
16. That's When I See The Blues (In Your Pretty Brown Eyes)
17. When You Are Gone
18. When Two Worlds Collide
19. Angels Don't Lie
20. You'll Never Know

Bannockburn: Scotland's Greatest Battle For Independence
Bannockburn: Scotland's Greatest Battle For Independence
by Angus Konstam
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $22.27
56 used & new from $10.62

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story well told, November 17, 2014
I had long known that the period from 1286 to 1314 and beyond was turbulent in Scotland, but I initially chose to buy and read Robert the Bruce: King of the Scots a book that covers the whole reign of Robert the Bruce. That book proved to be a very difficult read, and was in any case spoiled by the author's obvious bias.

In this book, the author says he has tried to stick to the facts as he interprets them (not easy when the available documents leave plenty to interpret) and to avoid saying which side he was on in the referendum (which was held after this book was published). For the most part, he succeed, but I found a couple of comments that left me in no doubt which side he was on, but I'll admit I was looking for such slips. It would be easy to read the book from cover to cover and not notice them.

As far as the main story is concerned, what happened between 1286 and 1314 is much clearer here than in the other book,if the author's interpretation is correct. I may one day try to compare the two properly but I'm not sure if I ever will.

I see that some other reviewers think he has got it wrong, and / or don't like his style, but that's the nature of history. I enjoyed this book immensely.

It's the Girls!
It's the Girls!
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $11.77
98 used & new from $0.50

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual tribute album, November 17, 2014
This review is from: It's the Girls! (Audio CD)
I've enjoyed plenty of tribute albums through the years, but this is one devoted to girl groups, yet covers a wide time span, from the thirties (Boswell sisters, Andrews sisters) to the nineties (TLC). Most of the chosen groups are from the fifties and sixties.

The Shirelles are represented by two songs (Baby it's you, Will you still love me tomorrow) but everybody else is just represented by one song each. Bette previously covered Boogie woogie bugle boy (Andrews sisters) in the seventies and here opts for Bei Mir Bist Du Schon.

Other groups to which Bette pays tribute, bot always by recording the obvious songd, include the Ronettes, Chiffons, Exciters (though Billie Davis had the big UK hit with Tell him), Crystals (He's Sure The Boy I Love , performed as a duet with ex-Crystal Darlene Love), Chordettes, etc. The names of the original artists are all listed in the bookle.

Bette recorded this at an age when most people have retired, but she is still in good voice and obviously enjoying herself, so let's hope there's more to come.

Christmas Time's A Comin'
Christmas Time's A Comin'
Price: $5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent album focusing on the fun of Christmas, November 17, 2014
Sammy begins and ends this album with brief pieces of We three kings, each under a minute long, with all the tracks in between being fun songs. Actually, Please come home for Christmas and Christmas won't be Christmas (without you here) are a little on the sad side, but perhaps the missed person will visit him and bring him some Christmas cheer after all.

The title track is a bluegrass standard that has been recorded by a few country singers, usually in a bluegrass style. Sammy sings it as a country song without the bluegrass instrumentation and it works quite well that way.

The two original songs, Daddy stuff and Christmas won't be Christmas (without you here), are brilliant. The other sons include obvious classics such as Rudolph and Frosty along with the less frequently recorded Up on the housetop.

All I want for Christmas is you is not a cover of the Mariah Carey classic, which was written in 1994, the same year that this album was recorded. It is actually a cover of the song by Vince Vance & The Valiants.

This is a great country Christmas album.

The Christmas Of Your Life
The Christmas Of Your Life
Price: $15.99
3 used & new from $15.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent - the full 15 tracks, November 17, 2014
I originally bought the 10-track version Christmas at a bargain price, after which I discovered this 15-track version. The 10-track version includes most of the obvious songs and omits most of the less obvious songs. I can understand that, as while most people prefer original material during the rest of the year, they generally prefer the old chestnuts at Christmas. I enjoy both.

The additional tracks to be found here are The Christmas waltz, Christmas mem'ries, (Wishing you) An old fashioned Christmas, We wish you a merry Christmas and There's no Christmas like a home Christmas. If you aren't particularly interested in those five tracks, you might prefer to buy the 10-track version if it is substantially cheaper, as it was when I wrote this review.

Of the five, The Christmas waltz has been recorded by lots of people and you have probably heard it somewhere, but it doesn't come round as often as most of the songs that everybody is familiar with. Another familiar song is We wish you a merry Christmas , but some people just sing the chorus rather than the whole song. Helen sings the whole song.

Christmas mem'ries was also recorded by Barbra Streisand. Perry Como recorded There's no Christmas like a home Christmas, but with the title There is no Christmas like a home Christmas. Helen also sings There is, so the title on her version is incorrect.

I'm not sure if I've heard (Wishing you) An old fashioned Christmas before, but it's a wonderful ballad.

This is a magnificent album, but you have thoice of buying the full version, or going for the ten track version.

Christmas Is Coming
Christmas Is Coming
Price: $20.96
37 used & new from $0.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A distinctive Christmas album, November 13, 2014
This review is from: Christmas Is Coming (Audio CD)
Harry was among the first, if not the first, to popularize calypso music around the world away from its Caribbean homeland, although he never limited his style. He often sang other styles of music, often adding a calypso twist here and there.

His Christmas recordings feature his original version of Mary's boy child, which was covered soon afterwards by Mahalia Jackson, whose version is also brilliant. Boney M revived the song in the seventies, but Harry's version is still the definitive version.

Elsewhere on the album, there is a good mix of familiar and obscure songs. Among the obscurities, I particularly like Christmas Is coming (about putting a penny in an old man's sack), but there is plenty to enjoy here.

A great Christmas album that is a little off the mainstream, but not too far.

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