What’s New for the 9th of June: Some beach reads — dark fantasy, superhero romance, comic fantasy and teen aliens; Finnish fiddles, Swedish-American jazz, and an Earl Scruggs tribute, and a grab bag of archival music; glam rock on film; an Alan Moore tribute

We keep our cats as happy as we can. Anna Nimmhaus


Whats Iain drinking, you ask? That’s Mozart dark chocolate liqueur.


Cat reviewed the first two books in a dark fantasy series by Stephen Dedman, The Art of Arrow Cutting, and Shadows Bite. ‘While I can argue that both Batman and Grimjack are anti-heroes, that cannot be argued of our hero in this universe, Michelangelo ‘Mage’ Magistrale, a footloose photographer who wishes to avoid trouble at all costs, and whose idea of a relationship is a zipless fuck. Unfortunately for him, this relatively banal existence is about to end. Ancient evil will soon cause him endless grief!’

Denise got her kicks with Larry Doyle’s Go, Mutants!, which sends up mid-century SF tropes, teen angst and just about everything else. ‘This mish-mash of history, B-movie mayhem and slapstick might have turned into a real mess if it wasn’t done properly. Luckily, Larry Doyle has a way with the subject matter, and a seemingly limitless knowledge of mid-20th century history and culture. As with Joss Whedon, I wonder what the author’s life was like back in high school. It couldn’t have been pretty.’

Michael Hunter enjoyed Jennifer Estep’s Jinx, part of a series blending superhero action and romance. ‘I’ve loved this series so far, and have grown quite fond of the setting and the characters. Jinx is quite enjoyable, a worthy installment to the Bigtime Books. Estep demonstrates an admirable adeptness at blending genres, respecting the demands of superhero comics and romances without missing a beat, all the while maintaining a sense of humor.

Michael Jones had a good time reading Robert Asprin & Jody Lynn Nye’s License Invoked, a tasty morsel of Big Trouble in the Big Easy modern fantasy. ‘It’s a fun and quick read with engaging characters, a familiar but enjoyable premise, and plenty of potential for sequels. I’d be surprised if we didn’t see more of Boo-Boo and Liz, as the chemistry between them shines and carries the story along swiftly. This may not be the most complex or sophisticated novel of the year, but once I started it, I couldn’t put it down.’


It’s cherry season, and it’s beer season, so we’ll let Denise tell us about Council Béatitude Cherry Tart Saison. ‘Cherry Tart is a Saison that thinks it’s a Sour. There’s lovely sour here, which compliments the notes of cherry perfectly. Even a bit of cherry pie vibe. Sour cherry pie. Because there’s strong sour cherry here. Which I adore, but that much pucker may not be for everyone. Especially folks ordering a Saison.’


In the Archives, Kimberlee brought us a hybrid review of film and music, covering Todd Haynes’s glam rock cult classic Velvet Goldmine, and David Bowie’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, and The Man Who Sold The World. ‘The film’s characters are outrageous and fascinating. The dialogue is sassy and cheeky. Though all the players are dynamite, the great favorite has to be McGregor’s Curt Wild. Watching Ewan thrash nude onstage, then play out his hysterical role as a stoned June Cleaver bringing Brian Slade cocktails and slippers as part of their manager Jerry’s (Eddie Izzard) publicity hype, is just too much fun.’

IMG_0272April admitted she wasn’t Alan Moore’s biggest fan, but she really enjoyed smoky man & Gary Spencer Millidge’s 50th birthday tribute Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman. ‘There’s a certain fascinating joy at discovering Moore’s work through the lens of others’ talent, vicariously soaking in what it is about him that inspires them. Their own delight and awe is infectious and I find myself wanting to give From Hell another try (as well as hunt down copies of his other work). While this is not the sort of book you would read straight through from cover to cover, it lends itself to opening to a random page and reading an essay here, admiring a two page inked comic there and otherwise enjoying the contents at your own pace and direction.’


In new music, Gary reviews Finnish fiddle music on Duo Emilia Lajunen & Suvi Oskala’s Toisjalkainen. ‘The duo of Emilia Lajunen and Suvi Oskala are known in their homeland and elsewhere around the globe as masterful interpreters of the historical fiddle repertoir of central Finland. Just by playing this music, both the well known repertoire and compositions they unearth while delving through archives, Emilia and Suvi are breaking ground as women performing music traditionally played only by men.’

He had very good things to say about The Mavericks’ Moon & Stars, which he says ‘ … is the music you put on as the cookout is winding down on a perfect summer night, the music to chill with as you finish that final beverage and talk quietly with your friends as you watch the light fade and the stars come out. It’s pleasant, soulful Latin-tinged Americana that just doesn’t wear out its welcome.’

Gary also enjoyed EarlJam: A Tribute To Earl Scruggs, with banjo legend Tony Trischka leading a stellar cast of bluegrass, oldtime, and Americana players and singers. ‘The 15 songs on this generous album were among some 200 informal recordings that modern bluegrass legend John Hartford made when he and his old friend Earl Scruggs got together (mostly at Earl’s house) to jam, over a period of several years beginning in the mid-1980s.’

And Gary reviews a big band jazz album, Evolver, from a tentet led by bassist and composer Bruno Råberg. ‘With Evolver he returns to the large ensemble format, this time with a tentet of top talent plus remarkable special guests pianist Kris Davis and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III. It’s a complex, multi textured affair, swinging from melodic to highly experimental, bluesy to modal, jazzy to near classical, and back again.’

From the Archives, Alistair reviewed three albums by Aly Bain: First Album, Lonely Bird, and Follow the Moonstone, the latter with The BT Scottish Ensemble. ‘These three recordings have all been on the music shelves for some years now, and should certainly be in the library of every lover of traditional fiddle music. Taken together, they cover a wide range of material, including Shetland, Scottish, Irish, Quebecois, and U.S. traditions, a number of recent compositions, and a set of symphonic arrangements on traditional themes. Only the English get passed over! They are a fine showcase for a musician at the peak of his abilities, with all the passion, sensitivity and eclecticism that are his hallmarks.’

Chris reviewed the eponymous CD by American singer-songwriter Kreg Viesselman. ‘In short, Kreg Viesselman is a somewhat gruff voiced singer whose great strength is the ability to craft story songs that combine honest emotions with poetic yet accessible language. He’s a damn fine guitarist and harmonica player, too.’

Gary reviewed what apparently was the only album by the U.K. based Téa Hodžić Trio. ‘Stay Awhile is a beautiful album of mostly traditional songs from the Balkans. These three musicians perform with a superb sense of connection, working closely to bring out every drop of emotion in these often hyper-emotional songs, while never overplaying or over-emoting.’

Judith gave high marks to The Stones of Callanish, a folk opera written by Les Barker, set to traditional Scottish music, and delivered by a stellar cast of musicians and singers. ‘Les Barker, so used to writing witty puns, is also a wonderful writer of serious material, and so good at selecting traditional tunes and fitting lyrics to them. Much of this excellence lies in his perception of complex meaning and sound of words in lyrics, a skill that bypasses so many contemporary songwriters. On the other hand, the traditional Scots material is so good, he doesn’t have to worry about finding great tunes!’

Mike was pleased with the music on a long-anticipated album from Mary Black. ‘Full Tide is Mary’s first full studio album since 1999’s Speaking With The Angel. This uncharacteristically long break from the recording studio had long-term fans of Mary worrying that she had nothing left to say and was perhaps losing interest in making music. Full Tide is a strong statement to counter any such fears, and is a timely reminder that Mary is still one of the finest voices to come out of Ireland.’

Peter turned in a short omnibus review of music that’s startlingly varied: ‘For this review I decided to pick, purely at random, four CDs from the Green Man Review mailroom’s “orphans pile” and see what they have to offer. None of these artists are known to me, so with a virgin ear and a blank canvas, I set out.’ See what he thought of Lucie Idlout’s E5-770, My Mother’s Name; Liza Garelik’s Liza Garelik and The Wonderwheels;
BenJammin’s Shining From Inside; and Dave Rowe’s By The Way.

He also enjoyed a live album from an obscure folk group, The Skirlers’ Cutting the Bracken. ‘Take Lorraine Kelly and Marion Storey both on fiddles, add Allen Bowling on highland and border pipes, Bob Smith on vocals, mandolin, guitar, tin whistles and bodhran, Chic Judge on highland pipes and vocals, and Tom Docherty on guitar and vocals, and there you have it — Celtic folk music blended in a single malt style. But is this the real thing from Scotland? Err, not exactly — the album was recorded live at The Golden Lion public house in Prittlewell, Southend.’


I'm the Pub Manager for the Green Man Pub which is located at the KInrowan Estate. I'm married to Ingrid, our Steward who's also the Estate Buyer. If I'm off duty and in a mood for a drink, it'll be a single malt, either Irish or Scottish, no water or ice, or possibly an Estate ale or cider. I'm a concertina player, and unlike my wife who has a fine singing voice, I do not have anything of a singing voice anyone want to hear!

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About Reynard

I'm the Pub Manager for the Green Man Pub which is located at the KInrowan Estate. I'm married to Ingrid, our Steward who's also the Estate Buyer. If I'm off duty and in a mood for a drink, it'll be a single malt, either Irish or Scottish, no water or ice, or possibly an Estate ale or cider. I'm a concertina player, and unlike my wife who has a fine singing voice, I do not have anything of a singing voice anyone want to hear!
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