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Reviews Written by
Mark Anderson (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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Black Toppin'
Black Toppin'
Price: CDN$ 20.95
30 used & new from CDN$ 12.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Album From One Of The Best Blues Bands Currently On The Scene, Nov. 18 2014
This review is from: Black Toppin' (Audio CD)
I discovered the Cash Box Kings about a year ago when I borrowed a copy of their Holler And Stomp CD from my local public library. I liked Holler And Stomp so much that I promptly bought my own copy and I'm gradually buying the band's other CDs.

The Cash Box Kings are one of the best among the current blues bands on the scene. If you're a blues fan and you haven't heard these guys, this is a band you should check out.

This 2013 release is another great Cash Box Kings album. It's 13 tracks, just over 40 minutes total playing time, of first rate 1950s based Chicago blues.

One note for the Cash Box Kings CD distributors though. I'm having trouble getting some of their albums. I've had Live On I-94 on order through Amazon for almost a year and it still isn't available. You need to rectify the problems in getting the product out to the CD buying fans.

One more suggestion: some of the Cash Box Kings CDs are over $30 on Amazon's Canadian site. You really need to drop the CD prices to something more reasonable. Dropping the prices will undoubtedly result in higher sales and revenues for the band.

Aint A Gonna Lie To You
Aint A Gonna Lie To You
Price: CDN$ 15.15
21 used & new from CDN$ 11.06

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good CD Of Acoustic Guitar Blues From An Overlooked Bluesman, Recorded In 1967, Nov. 18 2014
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This review is from: Aint A Gonna Lie To You (Audio CD)
Joe Callicott is not a well known name among blues fans. He recorded two tracks for Brunswick Records (Fare Thee Well Blues and Travelin' Mama Blues) in a 1930 session at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. At a 1929 session he played guitar behind his friend Garfield Akers on Cottonfield Blues Part 1 and Cottonfield Blues Part 2.

Then he dropped out of view and blues researchers and historians completely lost track of him.

In 1967, blues researcher George Mitchell traced Joe Callicott to his home in Nesbit, Mississippi and recorded Callicott performing 12 songs on Callicott's front porch. This CD features those 12 tracks recorded by George Mitchell in 1967.

This is excellent acoustic blues, just one man on guitar and vocals. Joe Callicott was 67 when George Mitchell found him and made these recordings in 1967. Callicott's voice had held up well and, although he had given up the guitar for several years in the interval between his 1930 recordings and his rediscovery by George Mitchell in 1967, his guitar skills are still in evidence on these recordings.

The sound is very good for a field recording done on Callicott's front porch. The music is very good. Tracks include two renditions of Callicott's 1930 recording of Fare Thee Well Blues, an acoustic version of the blues classic Rollin' And Tumblin', a version of the well known blues song Frankie and Albert. The total playing time is just over 40 minutes.

Overall, a very worthwhile CD of acoustic guitar based country blues from a bluesman who was first recorded in 1929. If you like artists like Mississippi John Hurt, you'll like this one.

Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues
Woman with Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues
by Paul Garon
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 25.50
38 used & new from CDN$ 11.32

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting Biography And History Of Memphis Minnie, Nov. 18 2014
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This is a very interesting and well researched biography of Memphis Minnie.

Along with her biography and history, it contains several appendices which give useful information about her advertised performances, her recording history (including labels, session dates, backup musicians etc.).

The biographical and historical information in the book is very worthwhile.

Unfortunately the book contains a lengthy section which purports to critique Memphis Minnie's music and lyrics through "class, race and gender" analysis. I got through about four pages of that section before boredom and disinterest set in and I gave up. I skimmed the rest of that section but it didn't get any better. So I skipped over that portion of the book and went to the appendices, which have some very useful historical information.

Overall, the history and biography part of the book is very good. The section devoted to "class, race and gender" analysis of Memphis Minnie's songs is, for me at least, a very effective sleep inducer.

Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law
Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law
by Nuh Ha MIM Keller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 41.75
22 used & new from CDN$ 40.36

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For All Non-Muslims, This Is A Very Informative And Authoritative Manual On Islamic Law And Jurisprudence, Nov. 17 2014
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With the current conflicts between Islamists and Western societies, between islamists and Christians, Islamists and Jews, and, seemingly, between Islamists and all non-Muslims, it is very worthwhile for all non-Muslims to have a accurate, authoritative reference to Islamic law and jurisprudence. This is one such reference.

This book is subtitled "The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law" by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (died 769/1368) and contains endorsements by Abd al-Wakil Durubi, Imam of the Mosque of Darwish Pasha, Damascus, Syria in April 1988 and by Nuh' Ali Salmon, Mufti of the Jordanian Armed Forces, dated February 1989. It has Arabic text alongside the English translation.

Here are some examples of interest to non-Muslims:

On Jews and Christians:

"....any Jew, or Christian who hears of me [the Prophet] and dies without believing in what I have been sent with will be inhabitants of hell..." [page 848];

"Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam will never have it accepted of him, and he will be of those who have truly failed in the hereafter." [page 849]

Lying to pursue Jihad:

"whether the purpose is war, settling a disagreement, or gaining the sympathy of a victim legally entitled to retaliate against one so that he will forbear to do so; it is not unlawful to lie when any of these aims can only be attained through lying. But it is religiously more precautionary in all such cases to employ words with give a misleading impression, meaning to intend by one's words something that is literally true; in respect to which one is not lying, while the outward purport of the words deceives the hearer, though even if one does not have such an intention and merely lies without intending anything else, it is not unlawful in the above circumstances." [pages 745-46]

Non Muslims In An Islamic State:

"The Caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians (provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invited them to enter the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax) until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax......

The Caliph fights all other peoples until they become Muslim....." [pages 602-03]

"The minimum non-Muslim poll tax is one dinar [4.235 grams of gold] per person [per year]. The maximum is whatever the two sides agree upon. It is collected with leniency and politeness, as are all debts, and is not levied on women, children, or the insane.

Such non-Muslim subjects are obligated to comply with Islamic rules that pertain to the safety and indemnity of life, reputation, and property. In addition, they:

- are penalized for committing adultery or theft, though not for drunkenness;
- are distinguished from Muslims by dress, wearing a wide cloth belt;
- are not greeted with 'as-Salamu 'alaykum';
- must keep to the side of the street;
- may not build higher than or as high as the Muslims' buildings;
- are forbidden to openly display wine or pork, to ring church bells or display crosses, recite the Torah or Evangel aloud, or make public displays of their funerals and feast days;
- and are forbidden to build new churches.............."

Those are just a few. There are many more.

This book is a very useful and authoritative manual on Islamic law and jurisprudence. Given current conflicts between Islamists and Western societies, and between Islamists and non-Muslims in general, this book is a very useful reference for all non-Muslims.

Best Of
Best Of
Price: CDN$ 11.47
24 used & new from CDN$ 3.34

5.0 out of 5 stars Slim Harpo Was One Of The Great R&B Musicians. For Those Who Don't Know His Music, This CD Is A Great Introduction, Nov. 17 2014
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This review is from: Best Of (Audio CD)
Slim Harpo was one of the great R&B players. His music has been covered by the Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, The Kinks, The Yardbirds and many others. Despite that recognition by leading musicians, Slim Harpo does not seem to be a well known name among today's music audience and consumers.

That's really too bad. Slim Harpo was a very influential musician, his music stands the test of time and, as Mick Jagger has been quoted as saying, "Why listen to us (the Rolling Stones) play KIng Bee when you can listen to Slim Harpo?"

This "Best of" CD is a relatively inexpensive (currently about $10) way of getting 16 of Slim Harpo's best known tracks, recorded between 1957 and 1967). There are other very worthwhile, more extensive, Slim Harpo compilations available on Amazon but they're currently priced at about $25. If you're an R&B fan and you don't know about Slim Harpo, this CD would be a relatively inexpensive introduction to his music.

The digital sound is good and the content is a good selection of Slim Harpo's best known material. My only criticism of this CD is there's only 16 tracks, taking about 40 minutes of playing time. IMHO the company should have put more tracks on the CD to fill up the remaining time but I can overlook that at this current price of $10.

Slim Harpo was one of the great R&B players. If you're an R&B fan and you don' know his work, this CD would be an excellent, and relatively inexpensive, introduction.

Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy, Revised and Expanded Edition: Gennett Records and the Rise of America's Musical Grassroots
Jelly Roll, Bix, and Hoagy, Revised and Expanded Edition: Gennett Records and the Rise of America's Musical Grassroots
by Rick Kennedy
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.75
31 used & new from CDN$ 12.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting History Of Gennett Records And Some Of The Influential Musicians Recorded On The Gennett Label, Nov. 3 2014
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This is a very interesting book about Gennett Records of Richmond, Indiana during the period 1922-1934.

As the title indicates, Gennett made the first recordings of early jazz greats Jelly Roll Morton, Bix Beiderbecke and Hoagy Carmichael. The label also made the first recordings of King Oliver's band, which included Louis Armstrong.

The book covers the label's business affairs and the jazz bands Gennet recorded in some detail before going on to shorter chapters on the early country (called "old time music" at the time) and Delta blues artists who also recorded at Gennett.

Gennett Records played a very important role in American music history between 1921-1934 by recording some musicians who went on to have a major influence on modern music.

This book is a very interesting, well written and well researched history of Gennett Records. Overall, a worthwhile book for anyone interested in music history.

1937-1940, Vol. 2
1937-1940, Vol. 2
Price: CDN$ 27.35
25 used & new from CDN$ 23.83

5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Worthwhile And Cost Effective Way To Get The Best Big Bill Broonzy Recordings From 1937-1940, Oct. 28 2014
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This review is from: 1937-1940, Vol. 2 (Audio CD)
This is a 4 CD set from JSP Records containing 101 Big Bill Broonzy sides recorded between 1937 and 1940. The sound quality is very good for recordings from this era.

From these recordings, it is very obvious why Big Bill Broonzy was considered one of the leading musicians in American blues at the time and is considered one of the greats in blues history. All these recordings stand the test of time and it is easy to see why major musicians like Pete Townshend of The Who consider Big Bill Broonzy one of the major influences on later blues players.

If you're a blues fan, Big Bill Broonzy is one of the major figures in blues history that you need in your music collection. This set is a very cost effective way of getting Broonzy's best recordings from 1937-1940.

Little Labels - Big Sound: Small Record Companies and the Rise of American Music
Little Labels - Big Sound: Small Record Companies and the Rise of American Music
by Rick Kennedy
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.95
21 used & new from CDN$ 9.68

4.0 out of 5 stars A Short But Very Informative Book - Should Appeal To Anyone Interested In Music History, Oct. 28 2014
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This is a short (198 pages including index and footnotes) but very informative book about ten small record labels that had a major influence on American popular music.

The labels included here are: Gennett (among others, the first KIng Oliver - Louis Armstrong recordings, Bix Beiderbeck, Hoagy Carmichael, some important Charley Patton and Blind Lemon Jefferson recordings for Paramount Records); Paramount Records (among others, Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Skip James); Dial Records (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and other pioneering bebop jazz musicians); King Records (R&B artists like James Brown, country artists like Granpa Jones and Merle Travis, among others); Duke Records (Big Mama Thornton, Johnny Ace, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Bobby "Blue" Bland, among others); Sun Records (Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, among others); Riverside (Cannonball Adderley, Wes Montgomery, Bill Evans, Thelonius Monk and other major jazz players); Ace Records (Dr. John, Huey "Piano" Smith, Frankie Ford); Monument Records (Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson); Delmark (Magic Sam, Junior Wells, Otis Rush and many others).

The chapters are short but informative. For anyone interested in music history, this is a very good book at a reasonable price (currently about $11).

The Undocumented Mark Steyn
The Undocumented Mark Steyn
by Mark Steyn
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 21.62
38 used & new from CDN$ 18.78

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Collection Of Mark Steyn Articles Covering About 20 Years Of Steyn, Oct. 23 2014
I recently heard Mark Steyn on an American talk radio show describing this book as a "greatest hits collection."

That's actually a good way of describing it. The book is a collection of Mark Steyn columns from the 1990s to the present day, arranged by topic. It's all vintage Mark Steyn.

Any Mark Steyn fan - and I'm one - would find this a worthwhile book.

If you're not familiar with Mark Steyn, he's one of the best conservative writers on the scene. If politics interests you, Mark Steyn is a writer you should read regularly. This book would be a great introduction to his work over the last 20 years.

Apart from the fact that it's all great Steyn material, this book is worth buying as a way to support Mark Steyn in defending the lawsuit filed against him by the odious Dr. Michael Mann, who is seeking to shut down the free speech rights of anyone who criticizes or questions Mann's views on global warming or, perhaps more to the point, criticizes or questions Dr. Michael Mann.

Even if I wasn't a long time Mark Steyn fan, I'd have bought the book to support Mark Steyn in defending himself against Dr. Mann's lawsuit.

Return Of The Stuff That Dream
Return Of The Stuff That Dream
Price: CDN$ 30.17
28 used & new from CDN$ 23.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good 2 CD Collection Of Blues And Country Recordings From The 1920s and Early 1930s, Oct. 22 2014
This is the second volume in a two volume (so far) series from Yazoo Records. Volume 1 is titled Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of

This is another very good collection of 1920s and early 1930s American music, taken from old 78 rpm records. It's pretty evenly divided between blues and country recordings.

This is a 2 CD set and the full storage capacity of each CD (about 75 minutes playing time) has been utilized.

The sound is good for music of that era. I see a few reviewers are complaining about background noise in some of these recordings. I don't see that as a major problem here; there is noise reduction technology readily available but it tends to cut out some of the high frequencies, so using it is frequently a trade off, I have no problem with the sound on this collection; it sounds good for recordings of this era taken from old 78 records. The only criticism I have regarding sound quality is with one track on which the sound of the stylus being placed on the start of the record is audible and has not been edited out. But I can live with that.

One suggestion for Yazoo Records when compiling the next set in this series: keep it restricted to rarities. On this one, Yazoo included recordings by artists like Charlie Patton, Tommy Johnson, Blind Willie Johnson and Furry Lewis which are readily available on CD. Material like Hambone Willie Newbern doing Roll And Tumble Blues (later covered by Muddy Waters, Johnny Winter and others as Rolling And Tumbling) is far more obscure and hard to get so keep the next collection focused on these more obscure recordings.

Overall, a worthwhile collection for anyone who likes blues and country music from the 1920s and 1930 or who has an interest in music history.

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