Every good fiddler has a distinctive sound. No matter how many play the same tune, each can’t help but play it differently. Some might use an up stroke where another would a down. One might bow a series of quick single notes where another would play them all with one long draw of the bow. Some might play a double stop where others would a single string. If the listener’s ear was good enough, she could tell the difference. But you had to know the tunes, and the players, for the differences were minute. — Fiaina in Charles de Lint’s Drink Down the Moon
Ahhhh, you’re in the mood for a really great bourbon, eh? I’d recommend the WhistlePig fifteen Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey. We just got it in and it’s proved popular among bourbon drinkers willing to pay dearly for it. It’s finished off for six months in White Oak barrels harvested on the WhistlePig farm in Vermont. Bloody good if I must say so myself.
Oh and Gary has a loving look at Reid Mitenbuler’s Bourbon Empire which bears the subtitle of The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey. A history of bourbon lovingly told? Need I say more to get you to read his review and afterwards the book itself which of course is in our Library? I think not!
Now let’s get this Edition started which again has Whovian reviews, along with anchovies (yes anchovies), music composed by de Lint, Carla Bley‘s newest recording, another exhibition at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History and music from the Horslips. Shall we get started?
Chris has a review of The Books of Earthsea: ‘Saga Press has released Ursula LeGuin’s collected Earthsea works, beautifully illustrated by Charles Vess. This collection includes the original trilogy: A Wizard of Earthsea (1968), The Tombs of Atuan (1971 ) and The Farthest Shore (1972), as well as the novels in which LeGuin revisited the trilogy, Tehanu (1990) and The Other Wind (2001), which conclude the saga many years after the events of the originals. Also included are Tales from Earthsea, LeGuin’s 2001 collection, and four other stories, including the never before published “Daughter of Odren.” Her illuminating essay, “Earthsea Revisioned,” which she delivered as a lecture in Oxford in 1992, is also here, along with an introduction from the author. In short, this giant of a volume includes everything you need to know about Earthsea, and it’s a delight to see it all collected in one place.’
Triskell Press has released a digital edition of Charles de Lint’s Yarrow: An Autumn Tale, which Grey delightfully notes is ‘set in de Lint’s Ottawa, the one he first envisioned for his novel Moonheart, and expanded in its sequel, Spiritwalk. Those readers who have fallen in love with the wonderful Tamson House of these two novels will be delighted to note its brief appearance in Yarrow as well. However, the characters in Yarrow are part of different story than the residents of Tamson House and their associates, and Yarrow is a stand-alone novel.’
Warner has two Doctor Who reviews of which this is the first first: ‘The final novelization of classic era Doctor Who has arrived with Eric Seward’s adaptation of his own Revelation of the Daleks. This volume has been a long time coming, with over thirty years between the airing of the television story and this release. Working from the relatively well regarded Colin Baker Sixth Doctor story, Seward brings a tale of Davros re-engineering the Daleks, a strange and deliberately anachronistic behaving DJ to the dead, honorable and impressive assassins, food shortages with familiar solutions, and planet wide graveyards, to simply name some of the elements.’
His other Whovian book is a look at a collection of short stories: ‘One of the noticeable oddities about Doctor Who as a franchise is the tendency to use and reference historical personalities. Vincent van Gogh, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and any number “of royal figures have appeared on the television series. Many more characters have appeared in the various books, comics and audio dramas featuring the the Doctor. The short story collection Doctor Who: Star Tales represents an interesting attempt to push this aspect to the fore by dealing exclusively in stories of the famous throughout history, and how their experiences and lives crossed with those of the Doctor. The celebrities range from actors to scientists, and from the recent past to the ancient.’
Either you love ’em or you have to run screaming from any room containing them and flush your mouth and sinuses, or at least your brain, until the very idea that you have shared the planet with them has been washed away. Enter at your own risk, because Jennifer’s about to get anchovy.
Tim recalls a film classic (from 1938, no less), The Adventures of Robin Hood: ‘While numerous Robin Hood movies have been made, my dad steadfastly refuses to watch them. “There’s only one Robin Hood,” he says. He’s talking about Errol Flynn, of course, and this 1938 classic.’
April is back with the next installment of Bill Willlingham’s Fables series: ‘In this ninth installment in the ongoing Fables series, Bill Willingham is back in top form, delivering solid character development and intriguing plot in spades. A mix of multi-part and one-shot stories, Sons of Empire introduces new characters and provides insight into the lives of others while driving the over-arching story forward.’
Cat has some comments on a very non-traditional rendering of the music of Charles de Lint, Zahatar’s The Little Country: ‘Zahatar is more akin to a classical music ensemble than it is to a folk group, and their arrangements of de Lint’s The Little Country compositions very much reflect that. It’s a lively but dignified approach to his songs, more closely akin to what you’d hear if you were listening to any classical music ensemble than to, say, a contradance band.’
The Guardian said of Kathryn Tickell, the great Northumbrian piper and fiddler, that her live show features ‘… tunes played at times hauntingly with fingers blurring as they flick up and down the chanter or over the fiddle neck. Each set of tunes is separated by stories about friends and places all told quietly, ramblingly and with a gentle wryness. Her act is gripping, funny and moving.’ Ed certainly agrees, as his review of her Debateable Lands is quite glowing.
We get the nicest things in the post, which is how Lahri ended up reviewing Celtic singer-songwriter Jez Lowe’s Live at the Davy Lamp. He comments, “Jez Lowe is one of the consummate performers in Celtic music today. Hailing from the Northumbrian lands of Northeast England, near the Scottish Borders, he brings a distinctively northern edge to his music.’
‘In addition to her prodigious output of composing, performing and recording in a wide variety of settings, 81-year-old Carla Bley has been playing in this trio with bassist Steve Swallow and saxophonist Andy Sheppard for some 25 years,’ Gary notes in his review of their latest release Life Goes On. ‘Theirs is the kind of musical relationship that, when it’s right, is capable of producing astounding results.’
Robert takes us on a tour of yet another exhibition at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History: Traveling the Pacific: ‘The Pacific Ocean is the largest body of water on the planet, at its widest stretching about 11,000 miles across — almost half the diameter of the earth. This is just one of the fun facts that lead into the Field Museum’s exhibit “Traveling the Pacific”. The focus of the exhibition is the islands, of which there are 20,000-30,000 — a firm count is hard to determine, since many of the islands are too small to be seen from space — another fun fact from the lead-in.’
It’s certainly quite definitely Winter here as the calendar reckons such things and it feels like it with cold mornings and snowy, chilly days. So let’s see what I can find on the Infinite Jukebox, our server of all things digital, to brighten us up a bit… I’m choosing the Horslips doing ‘Drive the Cold Winter Away’ as their cover of the John Playford composition is outstanding. It was recorded at The Spectrum, Philadelphia on the 24th Of March forty years ago.