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Reviews Written by
Candace Scott (California, USA)

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Merry Widow Comp
Merry Widow Comp
5 used & new from CDN$ 14.95

2.0 out of 5 stars A terrible abridgement, June 6 2004
This review is from: Merry Widow Comp (Audio CD)
Franz Lehar must be rolling over in his grave over this one! Go ahead and tear your hair out, they have abridged this masterpiece. Had I known that, I would never have laid down cash for this atrocity. The Decca version of "Die Lustige Witwe" remains the standard by which others will be judged. Not only is this disc abridged, the musical quality is not particularly good. There seems to be a problem in the mixing, where some portions seems overly loud, and other sections seems tinny and distant. Abridging a work like this is sort of like culling bits out of "Hamlet." It just isn't done, but some lunatic attempted this hatchet job. Do yourself a favor and avoid this. Stick with the Decca version.

German Military Marches
German Military Marches
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 48.96
6 used & new from CDN$ 29.05

2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks any power or kick, June 6 2004
This review is from: German Military Marches (Audio CD)
Forget this record. I expect my German military marches to be played with vim, vigor and possible violence, this band is way too tame. It sounds like an arthritic Perry Como wannabe is directing the group. It's not a military orchestra, this is some dingy oom-pa-pa band assembled in the basement of the Augustinerkeller (if you know Munich, you'll get that joke). The marches are played much too slowly and there isn't the necessary urgency or dynamism here. There is also no vocalizing and the song selection is dismal. Where is "Westerwald?" Where is "Wenn Wir Marschieren??" A crushing disappointment in song selection, style and presentation!

Sing Sing Sing
Sing Sing Sing
Price: CDN$ 20.48
30 used & new from CDN$ 5.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benny's Apex, June 6 2004
This review is from: Sing Sing Sing (Audio CD)
Wow! What a gold mine of classic Benny music. If you are just beginning to sample Benny Goodman, this is a good place to begin. This set would serve as a worthy introduction to the King of Swing in his glory years.
What a marvelous collection this is, showcasing Benny Goodman's golden years, 1935-1937. All of his greatest swing classics are included on this compilation, including some non-hit songs like "Bugle Call Rag," one of the best-ever Goodman recordings. Listen to "Roll 'Em", one of Goodman's absolutely mesmerizing standards. The arrangement and instrumentation here are awesome. This is a song you can listen to 1,000 times and never weary of it. Benny's primary vocalist of these years was Liltin' Martha Tilton, and she sings her great hit Goody Goody. Her rendition of this classic should be the standard by which all others are judged.
Goodman fans will have all these songs on other compilations, but if you're just getting into Benny's band, this is an excellent first disc purchase. When you hear Benny, Gene, Teddy, Harry and the boys really kickin' it, you'll fall in love. A stellar album!

Live in Stockholm
Live in Stockholm
Offered by Canada Music Shopping Party
Price: CDN$ 53.47
8 used & new from CDN$ 19.94

5.0 out of 5 stars Get this for "One O'Clock Jump", June 6 2004
This review is from: Live in Stockholm (Audio CD)
I had the opportunity of seeing Benny live many times throughout the 70's and 80's. I have to admit I never saw him give a good live performance, I was always disappointed, but remember we're talking about late, late in his career. His bands never seemed to have the punch, the zing, the necessary swing that was ubiquitous of Benny's bands in his heyday. He had gone from being an agonized perfectionist with his musicians, to being forced to take whatever scale-wage musician he could pick up.
However, this two-CD set contains one absolute gem and this is the best-ever Goodman version of "One O'Clock Jump." Well, I guess the definitive version of this song is on the '38 Carnegie Hall concert, but the sound on that disc, as all know, is compromised by glitches, buzzes and the inevitable march of time. The sound on this disc is killer!
The rest of the album is sub-par with the exception of "Roll 'Em," "Big John's Special" and, possibly "Sing, Sing, Sing." But where is Krupa when you need him? The other songs are limping dogs and just don't have the punch of the 30's Bluebird dics. Still, if you're a fan of one of the great Swing songs of all-time, "One O'Clock Jump," then you gotta love this record.

Hitler's Hang-Ups: An Adventure in Insight
Hitler's Hang-Ups: An Adventure in Insight
by Mina C. Klein
Edition: Hardcover
7 used & new from CDN$ 41.39

1.0 out of 5 stars More Freudian twaddle, June 5 2004
This book is an absurd joke. It consists of ill-conceievd psychological blather about Hitler and the errors litter every page. More absurd is the collection of ink-blot photos that the author claims Hitler made in the Berlin Bunker. Never mind that no such ink blots were made, with this book the edict is, "when it doubt, invent." The entire chapter on Hitler's relationship with his niece, Geli, is predictably infantile and heavily derivative of Freud. Miss Klein twists everything around to fit her theories, which have utterly no basis in fact. The entire slim volume is baseless, errant nonsense from beginning to end. You might want to peruse it for a laugh, but as serious history? Perish the thought!

Marathon: You Can Do It!
Marathon: You Can Do It!
by Jeff Galloway
Edition: Paperback
47 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide for marathon training, June 5 2004
I've long enjoyed Jeff Galloway's articles in "Runners World" and his other running books. This one ranks up there with the best guides on ho w to train for a marathon. It's not preachy or sanctimonious and it offers some sensible tips on how to get yourself in shape to run 26.2 miles. The book is dated, and if you do much of your training on a treadmill, you're out of luck. The book was written before treadmills became a practical way to train indoors in your own home. Aside from this "defect," the rest of the book is excellent. Whether you're an avowed coach potato, or someone who runs 10 miles a week, the book will get you to the starting line and, hopefully, get you to finish your first race.
Running is a joyous activity and one which brings many individual rewards. Finishing your first marathon is one of life's great memories and hopefully, there will be many more for you to savor as you gain experience and fitness. If you're a serious, addicted runner who has never run a marathon, you'll love this book, but the beginners will reap the greatest rewards. It's well-written, fun to read and instructive. Highly recommended.

A Few Stout Individuals
A Few Stout Individuals
by John Guare
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 19.50
18 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1.0 out of 5 stars An agonizing reading experience, June 5 2004
Ulysses Grant has been the subject of many plays in the past hundred years and two of them have actually been quite good: "Mr. Grant" by Arthur Goodrich and "Triumph" by Horace Green. In 2002, a new Grant play hit NYC and I can only thank God I never suffered through a performance. For anyone who admires General Grant, this play is an abomination, a hideous malady which bears no resemblance to the actual man, U.S. Grant. Saying that this stains his reputation is sort of like saying that in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, a small firecracker exploded.
Indeed, Guare's characterization of the General seems to have been made up out of while cloth. Grant is scarcely in the play, but when he appears in a wheelchair (which he never used), he spends his entire time ranting and railing. Repeatedly the character of Grant utters no dialogue, the stage directions merely say, "USG: rants," or, "USG: rails." Guare has Grant doing things he never did: cursing, heaping baseless ridicule his son, U.S. Grant, Jr., and carrying on in a drug-induced stupor throughout two hellishly miserable acts. The Grant in this play is drunk, drug-addicted and a babbling moron.
The historical "facts" in the play are laughable. The Grants are presented as so destitute they can't afford to purchase ice cream. Someone should have informed Mr. Guare that ice cream wasn't sold in pints in 1885, that refrigerators weren't yet invented and Grant never ate ice cream anyway. The Grant depicted here also tells people he was drunk at Cold Harbor, another blasphemous invention.
The errors in the book appear predictably throughout the play: Grant never used cannabis; he never courted his wife in Galena, Illinois; Julia Grant never called her husband "Lyssy;" (!), his daughter did not have a British accent; he never ate "calf's foot jelly" (God forbid that dish being conjured); Mark Twain never threatened to murder Grant's aide, Badeau; the sculptor Karl Gerhardt never suggested sculpting the General in the nude, and Grant's man servant was never a soldier at Cold Harbor. Perhaps a little birdie should have whispered in Guare's ear that black soldiers hadn't been integrated into the Army of the Potomac in 1864, but why bother with accuracy?
An unintentionally lucid moment occurs in the Preface, where the author candidly admits, "I don't work off research" (page ix). Gee, lucid people figured that out already on page one.
The real Ulysses Grant is a truly great story: he was a military genius but he was also a man of rare moral fiber, courage, decency and gentleness. The real story of Grant is something so much greater than this tripe that comparisons are futile. If you admire Grant, do yourself the ultimate favor and avoid this nauseating character assassination.

Paul Mccartney: Now And Then
Paul Mccartney: Now And Then
by Hal Leonard Corporation
Edition: Paperback
37 used & new from CDN$ 3.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some great photos and revealing words, June 5 2004
This is a welcome book for Macca fans everywhere. Though there is absolutely nothing new for people who have long followed Paul's career, for newbies this would be a veritable treasure trove. Paul speaks candidly about John, the Beatles break-up, his marriage with Linda, the infighting among various members of Wings (especially Denny Laine), and his musical legacy. There's nothing about Linda's struggle with breast cancer, her death, or the appearence of Heather Mills. So don't expect any information on Macca's life post-1998.
All of this has been discussed ad nauseum by Paul in previous interviews dating back many years. But there are snippets that are marvelous. I especially like his description of he and John slagging off school and assembling in Paul's upstairs bedroom at 20 Forthlin Road to write songs. What wouldn't you give to have been on a fly on the wall in that room?
The photos are nicely done with some rare and intriguing shots. Not many color shots and the photos from the Beatles years are a little weak. Still, if you love Paul, this is a "must have" for your collection.

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 - 1964
American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880 - 1964
by William Manchester
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 40.68
66 used & new from CDN$ 5.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hero worshipful and dated, but still interesting, June 5 2004
Manchester began this examination of the flamboyant MacArthur with the intent to write a critical biography. Yet he became so enamored with his subject that the book turned into an extremely pro-MacArthur book, nearly devoid of criticism. Yet his gifts as a writer/researcher are so pronounced that the reader overlooks this problem. Manchester is in the same league with the brilliant David McCullough, and both historians are able to hold a reader's interest through 800 pages.
Manchester's infatuation with MacArthur is evident is his unwillingness to criticize Mac for any military decision. Why is no blame attached to MacArthur leaving his planes on the Manila airstrip in December, 1941? What about his gross insubordination towards his Commander in Chief, Harry Truman, throughout the Korean War? Though Manchester examines these issues in depth, he fails to throw much blame on MacArthur, who remains resplendent, fascinating and brilliant throughout.
A particular strength of the book is the examinations of the private relationships in MacArthur's life. Manchester explains in depth Mac's two marriages, the suffocating love he displayed towards son Arthur, and his competitive relationship with Ike, "the best clerk I ever had."
This is the standard MacArthur biography and by a wide margin the most readable. Opt for this over the more recent MacArthur biography by Geoffrey Perret, which is almost comically awful. This book is highly recommended.

FDR and Lucy: Lovers and Friends
FDR and Lucy: Lovers and Friends
by Resa Willis
Edition: Hardcover
24 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new here, June 5 2004
I was expecting a thorough examination of the love affair between FDR and Lucy Mercer. The affair has been common knowledge for forty years and it's always touched upon in Roosevelt biographies and documentaries. But this book is a rather crushing disappointment, padded with much unnecessary and repetitive information. Most of the book consists of boring material relating directly to Lucy's life as Mrs. Rutherford in the 20's and 30's. Personally, I was expecting more details on FDR's affair with her throughout WWI, Eleanor's discovery of her love letters in Franklin's suitcase, and then the hysterical control-monster, Sarah Delano Roosevelt, demanding Franklin dump Lucy or risk losing his inheritance. Now that is the stuff of legend!
Instead we get a dreary narrative with no new information. The book picks up a bit when Lucy re-enters Roosevelt's life in the 30's and spends considerable time with his in the closing years of his life. Most of their meetings took place in Warm Springs, Georgia, and also in the White House. FDR's daughter, Anna, was the one who invited Lucy to the Executive Mansion while Eleanor was away on one of many tours during the war. It's mindful to recall a remark from Alive Roosevelt Longworth in this context: "Franklin deserves a good time. He was married to Eleanor!"
If you know little about the mechanics of the Lucy-Franklin alliance, this is a well-written and entertaining book. But if you know more about the pair, it wouldn't be particularly revealing. The characterization of Eleanor is especially weak. While I'm not advocating adultery, let's face facts: Eleanor was frigid, disinterested in sex and in the 30's took up close "friendships" with people like Lorena Hickock (who makes Yogi Berra look gorgeous in comparison). I really can't blame a man as charming and handsome as Franklin Roosevelt pursuing sex outside of marriage. His choice may not have been the "moral" one (whatever that means), but it was the only logical thing to do under the circumstances.
To sum up, if you're an FDR newbie, this would be nice. If you're not, forget it.

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