I hate this fucking song. (See coda for the story of this quote.)
Sorry ’bout the delay in getting your Queen’s Lament IPA to you, it’s been a very busy day as we’ve got a hand fastening on the Greensward and the brides changed their minds this morning on what libations they wanted for the reception afterwards. And I’m down two workers as Gus needed them for desperately needed work in Macgregor’s Kitchen Garden which is much larger than the quaint name it has would suggest. And yes there was a Head Gardener here by that name.
The weather’s been sunny and warm so almost everyone here is finding an excuse to be outside. The Kitchen staff has been out on the back terrace that borders on the Kitchen (which is actually in the basement level right below our Pub which is in the first level of basement) setting up the reception. I should tell you that Kitchen and Pub have full banks of triple glazed leaded glass windows so they’re cheerfully bright spaces when the sun reaches this side of Kinrowan Hall.
So I wonder what we’ve for you this edition..
Though we tend to strongly favour fiction here, we do review a lot of non-fiction as can be seen in this sampling of such books as selected by our Librarian who’s off officiating the marriage of bride and bride.
Iain starts us off with a look at Stefan Ekman’s Here Be Dragons: Exploring Fantasy Maps and Settings: ‘Now we have a really detailed look at the role of fantasy maps and the settings they help create in fantasy literature. (Though weirdly enough, Here Be Dragons has only three such maps in it suggesting the author either had trouble getting permission to use more such maps or the use of them was deemed too costly.) It is not the usual collection of edited articles but appears an actual cohesive look at this fascinating subject.’
Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span always seem to evoke British folk rock for me, so it’s fitting that Lars has a review of Brian Hinton and Geoff Wall’s biography of Ashley Hutchings: The Guv’nor & the Rise of Folk Rock as he helped birth both of those groups: ‘To some of us the subject of this book is, if not God, at least the musical equivalent to the pope. Name a group you like and have followed over the years, and there is a fair chance that Mr. Hutchings was there to start it, or at least influence the starting of it. He is in one way or another responsible for a very large number of the records in my collection, and yes, we are certainly talking three figures, here.’
Lory’s review of Farah Mendlesohn’s Rhetorics of Fantasy which is an in-depth academic study of the fantasy genre, and discovers that academia and genre literature aren’t natural enemies after all: ‘Farah Mendlesohn takes fantasy seriously. Other scholars may tend to skip over the genre, or feel the need to explain or excuse their focus on popular fiction, but she takes for granted the worthiness of a body of literature which relies on the creation of a sense of wonder.’
Richard looks at Donald E. Morese and Kalman Matolcsy’s The Mythic Fantasy of Robert Holdstock: Critical Essays on the Fiction: ‘The myth-infested landscape of Robert Holdstock’s Ryhope Wood would seem to be fertile ground, not only for walking legends and “mythagos”, but also for literary criticism. After all, in the sequence Holdstock tackles not the structures of mythic fiction – dark lords, questing heroes, magical macguffins and so forth – but rather the concept of myth itself, and how the same core stories have echoed down through the millennia, amplified and distorted and reflected by centuries of human experience. The books start in a critical space, with scientist-protagonists attempting to unravel the nature of the wood and all it contains and it only dives deeper from there, familiarizing characters and readers alike with the tropes and concepts of discussion of myth.’
For serious fans — or perhaps we should say ‘students’ — of science fiction, Robert has a look at a tome that if you’re of a serious bent, that you might find perfect for whiling away those long sunmerited afternoons: ‘You know that science fiction has arrived at some sort of respectability when you are confronted by something like The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction.’
Barb starts off the music reviews with a charming look at Andrew Cronshaw’s On the Shoulders of the Great Bear as she asks the age old question, ‘If I play music from the Arctic Circle during a long August heat wave, will it cool you off? And will African drumming or steel drums warm you up on a cold January day?’ Discover the answer, along with Barbara while she grooves to some Finnish zither playing!
David has a look at Gratefully Dead 1964-1968 which among other things, points that 1967 was when Eric Burdon and the Animals had their last hit: ‘Raven Records has released a new collection of The Animals greatest non-hits! Entitled Gratefully Dead (after an obscure B-side) this new anthology should sit next to its sister disc, ,, in any record collection that seeks to understand and appreciate British music of the late ’60s. This is great stuff!’
Robert brings us his take on Capecaillie’s Roses and Tears: ‘My first acquaintance with Capercaillie was an album that turned out to be a “crossover” — Celtic trad group goes pop. At least some of that pop influence seems to have made a home in the group’s style — I find myself confronted by Roses and Tears, and it’s a refreshing break from my usual diet of loud obnoxious rock and loud obnoxious classical.’
Robert was not quite so happy with Agnus Dei’s Gaia: ‘Agnus Dei was Gerald and Hilde Krampl; Hilde, a poet, died of cancer in 2002. This album, of piano works by Gerald based on Hilde’s last poems, may in some sense be taken as a tribute. Gerald Krampl was a founder and keyboard player for the symphonic rock bands Kyrie Eleison and Indigo some time back, and has since become involved in meditation, runes, and reiki, interests that Hilde shared.’
Our What Not this week is something that we’re sure our readers will appreciate, a very special bookstore. Robert shares his reaction: ‘Chicago has a rich trove of bookstores, all the way from the legendary Kroch’s and Brentano’s on Wabash Avenue, once a magnet for book lovers visiting the Loop (or in the case of some of us, visiting the Loop to go to Kroch’s), and now, alas, long gone, to Powell’s over on Lincoln Avenue, a great barn of a place full of treasures, and the big chains. We’ve also got more used bookstores than I can keep track of. But there are also the smaller neighborhood stores, some specialized, but most of general interest, catering to the readers in their neighborhoods. One of the best is Unabridged Bookstore, in Lakeview on the North Side.’
Once upon a rainy, cold night the conceraige at the hotel we staying at in London said that Eric Burdon was playing a few streets away at a club near to the hotel. Sounded interesting so we got our anoraks and walked there. Club might’ve held a hundred but there was no more than few dozen there.
Eric came out and introduced the rest of the band — Brian Auger and Brian’s son, Karma. They preceded to play a seventy five minute set with no break. The obligatory encore of course included ‘The House of The Rising Sun’. Before Burdon performed this, he said ‘I hate this fucking song’ and explained he played it several hundred times every year, starting in the late sixties. I think he was more bitter about his vast body of work was essentially beung ignored except for this song and a few others such as ‘We Gotta Get Out Of This Place’ which the Vietnam set China Beach used, but they used the version done by Katrina and The Waves.
The song as recorded here was performed by Eric Burdon & the Animals on the 8th of May 1967 at the Marquee Club, London. It’s not quite the song that he’d grow to hate as it’s presented more as a talking blues song which makes sense as the Newcastle lad that Burdon was thought he was a bluesman.