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C. C. Black RSS Feed (Princeton, NJ USA)
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The Little Stranger
The Little Stranger
by Sarah Waters
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.35
204 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Literate Genre Fiction, June 26, 2009
This review is from: The Little Stranger (Hardcover)
I admire ghost stories, especially the English tradition of the early twentieth century (E. F. Benson, Henry James, M. R. James, Oliver Onions). With "The Little Stranger" Ms. Waters wipes the dust from that mode and gives it a gloss. The first and most important thing to be said is that this author knows how to write. In genre fiction that is crucial, because it's the writing--the tale well told--that keeps the pages turning (or, in my case, bestirs me to return to especially well-crafted paragraphs). The author is a master of atmosphere and setting: Essentially she is retelling Poe's "Fall of the House of Usher," but the effect of one of homage, not theft. The story is set in Warwickshire of the late 1940s, and the terms and turns of phrase seem remarkably true to that time and place--an era in which so many of Britain's gentry and grand manors were dissolving forever. While flawed and frequently unlikeable, the characters are believable in their varied reactions to incredible events. The plotting is curious: Its patches of predictability lulled me into a complacency that was sporadically jolted and snapped--which, of course, is the characters' own experience. Likewise, the terror ranges from the subtle drone of evil to outbursts of grotesquerie.

An excellent summer read; maybe a better winter one. This novel is my introduction to Sarah Waters. I've no doubt that I'll be reading more from her.


Last Recording
Last Recording
4 used & new from $42.05

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars His Last Bow, June 26, 2009
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This review is from: Last Recording (Audio CD)
This is a fine if flawed disc. "Flaw" when applied to Roslino will seem sacrilege to some: He is surely among the top half-dozen jazz trombonists of the twentieth century, and some would place him at the very top. The blemishes, such as they are, which I hear on this album are two. First, the repertoire is extremely limited, with alternative takes of varying lengths of "Misty," "I Thought About You," and "Waltz for Diane." This is itself is not a bad thing, since Rosilino does not mimic himself; nevertheless, on a disc with only six tracks, at a playing time of around 53 minutes, some may be disappointed by the lack of variety. My second quibble concerns Rosolino's style: After only a couple of hearings, the disc seems to me fairly uniform in approach. There's no denying the quality of technique, which, when Rosilino was afire, few if any could match. Nevertheless, there's an impish cleverness in his style that, to my ears, does not always mesh with the music itself. On the other hand, Rolino's sidemen--Billy Higgins on drums, Kevan Brandon on bass, and most especially Larry Willis on piano--are a joy to listen to in their own right, and F. R. gives them plenty of room to shine. The disc is complemented by appreciative liner notes from his manager, Diane Arnesto.

On balance: Probably not the best Rolisno disc with which to begin, but essential for completists and those wanting to trace the arc of this fabulous musician's career to its bitter end.


M.F. Horn 3
M.F. Horn 3
10 used & new from $47.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Disc and Fine Service, June 26, 2009
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This review is from: M.F. Horn 3 (Audio CD)
M.F. Horn 3 is a blast from the '70s. In song selection and execution I would rank it below Live at Jimmy's, above Chameleon, and a dead heat with M. F. Horn 2. While Screamin' Maynard's horn lifts you high enough for nose-bleeds, down below his sidemen play solid and with polish. While few today could sing the love theme from "The Valanchi Papers," the album boasts some standards ("'Round Midnight") and two classic Ferguson charts: Pete Jackson's "Mother Fingers" and Jeff Steinberg's incomparable "Nice 'n' Juicy."

The seller, Movie.Mars, did not rocket this order to me, but then I never asked them to. It arrived in unblemished condition just at the edge of their ETA.


Thundering Herd
Thundering Herd
Price: $10.98
24 used & new from $6.76

5.0 out of 5 stars Herd Mentality, June 9, 2009
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This review is from: Thundering Herd (Audio CD)
A terrific companion disc for the band's "Giant Steps." Both cook, but of the two this is my favorite: great songs; interesting, varied arrangements; high-octane musicianship; and Woody, a pro so secure that he's willing to yield the spotlight to his trombonist (in "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"). I find this disc one of those that arrests your attention, not by the virtuosity of single tracks, but rather by the solid coherence of the whole. Since most of the melodies are unfamiliar ("Lazybird," "Blues for Poland," "America Drinks and Goes Home"), that quality is nailed by the band itself. The one exception--the stand-out track--is "Corazon," in a brilliant, unforgettable arrangement and a dead-on performance that is paradoxically tight and loose, from ppp to fff. All in all, ten of the happiest bucks you're likely to plunk down.


Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
DVD ~ Calhern Louis
Offered by TOTAL ECLIPSE ENTERTAINMENT
Price: $12.35
58 used & new from $6.80

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, June 4, 2009
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This review is from: Julius Caesar (DVD)
Arguably this is the best filmed adaptation of Caesar and one of the finest Hollywood versions of any Shakespearean play (produced by John Houseman and directed by Joseph Mankiewicz--no slouches, they). Except for Louis Calhern, who doesn't outlive the Ides of March, the cast--including James Mason (Brutus), John Gielgud (Cassius), and Edmund O'Brien (Casca)--is impeccable. The revelation is, of course, Brando's Antony. His rendering of the funeral oration that turns the masses against the assassins remains spellbinding: the performance that convinced even hardened Brits that Americans--method actors, no less--could play Shakespeare. The disc contains only a few extras: an introduction by TCM's Robert Osborne; an interesting if brief conversation with Dennis Hopper and Laurence Fishburne; a hodgepodge of Shakespearean trailers. The remastering is hardly pristine but nice enough at the price.


Essential Walt Whitman CD (Caedmon Essentials)
Essential Walt Whitman CD (Caedmon Essentials)
by Walt Whitman
Edition: Audio CD
Price: $11.65
23 used & new from $9.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Begley Is Superb, June 3, 2009
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Whitman is not my favorite poet by a stretch, but listening to Ed Begley Sr. recite it could change that over time. The excerpts are copious and well chosen; the excerpts from "A Song of Myself," intelligent. Begley's voice and delivery--warm, rich, never strained or histrionic--is a perfect match for the verse. Highly recommended.


Giant Steps
Giant Steps
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $10.61
30 used & new from $6.35

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woodchopper's Ball, June 3, 2009
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This review is from: Giant Steps (Audio CD)
This album, I believe, marked Woody Herman's triumphant return to Big Band jazz in the 70s. It won for him a Grammy. If you listen to it, you'll understand that it was no sentimental award but richly deserved on musical merit. Interesting melodies, beautifully arranged, by a Herd that knew how to cook.


Table Blessings: Mealtime Prayer Throughout the Year
Table Blessings: Mealtime Prayer Throughout the Year
by Victor-Antoine D'Avila-Latourrette
Edition: Paperback
29 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars A Quietly Beautiful Book, June 3, 2009
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Composed and arranged with sensitivity to the liturgical year, this is a most welcome addition to any home or monastery's devotional material.


Psycho: Bernard Herrmann's Complete Music for Alfred Hitchcock's Classic Suspense Thriller
Psycho: Bernard Herrmann's Complete Music for Alfred Hitchcock's Classic Suspense Thriller
8 used & new from $31.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "He Used Our Guts For His Strings", June 3, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
So said "Psycho"'s screenwriter Joseph Stefano about this classic score, and it's great to have this vintage (if rare) recording, under the composer's own baton, available in CD. It includes every cue from the movie, including some Hitchcock and Herrmann decided not to use. Essential for collectors of vintage film scores and all things Hitch.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 10, 2013 4:33 PM PDT


Chameleon
Chameleon
7 used & new from $9.97

3.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining If Uneven Album, June 3, 2009
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This review is from: Chameleon (Audio CD)
I doubt I would introduce M. F. to newcomers with this album, but it's vintage jazz from the 70s that I'm delighted to hear remastered on CD. The group's take on McCartney's "Jet" is uninspired; the title track cooks as hot as that band ever did; and everything else fall somewhere in between. At its current low price (under $10), it's an especially happy bargain.


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