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Music CD Reviews
Book Review: Amuzingthaicartoons
by Lang Reid
review book this week is a slim volume produced in Bangkok which unfortunately
has no ISBN number, but try the website www. amuzingthaicartoons.com
It is, as the name suggests, a book of cartoons, with all of
them particularly relevant to life in Thailand in general, and some to life in
Pattaya in particular.
The cartoons are some of the collected works of UK ex-pat
Mike Baird, a man who was regarded as one of the best ‘copy artists’ in the
UK, and who had a very successful business producing enormously large
The cartoon format was not one that he had previously
explored, but after doing his first one, and being heartened by the belly
laughs that came from it, began to draw a series.
What Mike Baird has done is to be able to see the funny side
of life, while at the same time, make a social commentary upon it. This is what
makes his cartoons so good - incisive wit. The first page almost says it all,
with a diptych showing a 66 year old man in the UK and here in Thailand. The
caption under the UK side reads, “66 years old, wife died, no job, pension,
lonely. Family never come to see me, neighbours do not speak, body aches with
rheumatism and arthritis, rain 11 months of the year, high gas bills, high
electric bills and food bills. Little savings being gobbled up. Crap TV, same
old things, day after day. Nobody cares. Just waiting to die.” On the other
side there is the same man in Thailand, with a young lady on each arm and the
caption reading, “66 years old, widowed, pension, never lonely, what family?
Neighbours are so friendly, rheumatism and arthritis has gone, sunshine 11
months a year, cheap gas, electric and food bills, savings last longer, pension
goes far, TV great, football, movies, no license, every day’s a bonus, best
sex in 40 years, lovely people, Thank You God, Thank You Thailand.”
Another wonderful social commentary is a cartoon depicting
an interchange between a customer and a prostitute in King’s Cross in Sydney,
Australia. The lady of the night has asked the punter if he wants some sexual
relief. He replies, “Yes, please! Oh, I would like to marry you and take care
of any kids you have, plus buy you a motorbike and a house, plus I would like
to take care of your family and anybody else you know, plus feel free to tell
all your friends that I will lend them any amount of money knowing I will not
get it back. Oh, by the way, how much is it for three minutes?” The heading
reads, “These guys wouldn’t act so stupid in their own country. Why do it
here?” So true!
The book is available direct from the website, or selected
Bookazine outlets, with the RRP 350 baht. It is small enough to send to your
friends and acquaintances, especially UK ones, and I am sure they will get just
as much of a chuckle as you. However, theirs will have a tinge of envy too!
Music CD Reviews: Nutz - Nutz Too
by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew
In 1975, those four wacky lads from Liverpool, England, who
make up Nutz, released their second album, amusingly titled “Nutz Too”. What
a leap forward it was from their debut album, running like all good Rock ‘n’
Roll albums should. Similar to a live show with a positive beginning, it takes
you on a journey all along the roundabout of Rock ‘n’ Roll before exploding
in a dramatic climax. Along the way they show off the power of the group as a
whole, while allowing each individual member of the band room to reveal his own
‘’Nutz Too” was compiled of eleven songs, each short
and sharp (average song length four minutes), and each with its own story to
tell. Six of the seven songs by lead guitarist Mick Devonport are belting
rockers, while number seven is a rather pleasant Zepplenesque acoustic song.
One cover version, included to appease the record company,
was released as a single, the poppy rocker ‘Change’s Coming’. And three
songs written by front man David Lloyd, one of which is a mid-paced rocker, a
clever little number with intricate time changes and one of the most beautiful
power ballads ever put down in a recording studio.
This really rather summed up the band. Mick Devonport, the
driving force and raw rocker of the band; Dave Lloyd, the looks, soul, and
voice; John Mylett, left to prove that he was one of the finest and hardest
hitting drummers in Rock ‘n’ Roll (John was constantly being targeted by
other bands to join their ranks including ‘’Iron Maiden”. However, he
preferred to stay with his mates in the firm believe that one day they would hit
the big time. Sadly, as history proved, “Nutz” never became the mega-stars
everyone predicted, and John Mylett was tragically killed in a car crash in
Greece a year after the band gave up their quest for that elusive big break.);
and lastly, Keith Mulholland, who, together with John Mylett, formed an earth
shattering rhythm section, and at times put his rockin’ bass upfront like in
Opener ‘Nature Intended’ starts with a flurry of
descending chords from the guitar of Mr. Devonport before the rest of the band
come crashing in with the main riff. This leaves you in no mind that you are
listening to a lean mean Rock ‘n’ Roll machine. David Lloyd comes in with
the vocals leading into the chorus that brings incredible melody to proceedings;
then, after two verses and choruses played at breakneck speed, Mick Devonport
takes the roof off the place with one of his trademark solos. It can be said
that it is not always necessary to play one hundred notes when ten will do, but
I say, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”. What is the point of being one of
the fastest guitarists in Rock ‘n’ Roll with a flashy technique when
you’re not going to use it?
The album opens with a trio of Devonport rockers, before we
get the single, which taken in the constraints of the album, does add a little
Next comes ‘Dear Diary’, which takes a leaf out of the
Zeppelin/Jeff Beck school of music. It would have made a fabulous anthem if
“Nutz” had reached stadium filling capacity. I can see those tens of
thousands of flickering lighters swaying now.
Sixth song up, which would have been the end of side one in
the days of vinyl, is an out and out Nutz rocker with some tantalizing
inter-play between the lead guitarist and the rest of the band.
Song seven, eight, and nine (one, two, and three on side 2 on
the vinyl) are the David Lloyd compositions. ‘Cool Me Down’ is a mid-paced
heavy rock number. In these days of politically correct speech we would say that
the lyrics promote anger management. R.S.D. is perhaps the most clever song in
the Nutz barrel. Switching from an acoustic opening with some more of David
Lloyd’s effect drenched vocals, crooning again about self-restraint, before
the full electric band breaks back in with some astonishing slide work by Mick
Devonport. This was always one of Nutz’s most popular live stage numbers,
where they would always astound the audience by reproducing their studio sound
on stage. ‘The Love That You Lost’ is one of the most moving songs of lost
love ever recorded in a studio. Famous session player Paul Carrick was brought
in to play the piano and an emotional intro he gives. David Lloyd sings his own
lyrics with passion and power betraying the fact that the song was written
through bitter experience. Mick Devonport lays down a delicate solo to show
there is heart to his playing as well as explosive bluster; a song that really
tugs at the old heart strings.
Then the worm turns and the album crashes out with two
pulsating Devonport rockers rejoicing in the joys of living life to its fullest.
First up are three minutes of the break speed ‘Sinner’, where you can only
marvel at the speed of both David Lloyd’s singing and the band’s playing.
The final song is ‘Knife Edge’, a song “Nutz” always
used to save as their encore in their live set, which brings the album to a
storming conclusion with everybody being given the space to stretch out
musically. Oh, unfortunately they do not make rockers like this anymore.
The artwork for the cover features all four members of the
band with fireball eyes captured by a beautiful model (hey, it was the
seventies), and the beautiful model was Linda Halpin. Linda is the sister of the
world’s most famous Rock ‘n’ Roll photographer Ross Halpin, who took the
pictures and did all the artwork for the boys. After all this, do you need
another reason to go out and get yourself a copy of “Nutz Too”?
Mick Devonpot - Lead guitar and backing vocals
Dave Lloyd - Guitar and lead vocals
John Mylett - Drums and percussion
Keith Mulholland - Bass guitar and backing vocals
I Want Never Gets
Take It From Me
Is It All For Real?
Cool Me own
The Love That You Lost
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