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Music CD Reviews
Book Review: 1001 Movies
by Lang Reid
photo on the cover of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die (Cassell
Illustrated, 2003, ISBN 1-84403-044-X) caught my eye. Michael Caine in the
character of one of my favourite movies, Get Carter, released in 1971. At
almost 1000 pages this book has the potential to be the moviegoers bible.
The book covers the century from 1902-2002, and I must admit
that many of the early movies were not only well before my time, but also well
outside my ken. To be included in what must always be a very subjective
listing, the editor of the book, Steven Jay Schneider, co-opted the assistance
of 58 reviewers, all of whom are listed at the front of the book, and all have
good credentials. But it should never be forgotten that it is still subjective,
so if your favourite film was Zulu, and it’s not there (which it isn’t),
this does not mean that you have a lousy taste in movies, it just means the
majority of the reviewers didn’t vote for it. I was personally disappointed
that Billy Liar and A Man and a Woman didn’t make the final cut, but the 58
reviewers must be given the final choice.
Each movie reviewed has a side box with the names of the
directors and producers, screenplay credits, music and photography, as well as
the actors and any film awards won by the movie or the actors themselves. There
is also at least one still from the movie with each entry.
Even a brief glance at the list of directors soon shows the
names that crop up several times in the 1001 titles. Woody Allen, Robert
Altman, Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, Francis Ford Coppola, Howard Hawks, Alfred
Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorcese, Steven Spielberg and Orson Welles.
Your favourites will be there.
This is a weighty tome (over 2 kg in fact), and undoubtedly
will remain one of the best listing reference books on film for many years. It
is very thorough in the way it indexes the movies by genre at the front of the
book (Drama, Humour and Romance being three of the major categories in the
1001), as well as an alphabetic listing at the back of the book. The book
itself catalogues the films by year. This way of listing the movies I found a
little perplexing, and in fact, at times, annoying. Think of your favourite
movie (let’s say Get Carter), then you have to go to the back, look up G in
the alphabetic listing to get a page number (544) which then takes you to 1971,
the year of the general release of this movie. The next movie you want to look
up means that once again it is off to the listing at the back before you can
find it in the book proper. Back and forwards, back and forwards, while if the
films were listed in the book alphabetically it would have been so much
The review copy was made available by Bookazine, with an RRP of 1,295 baht,
and should be available in all good bookstores with sturdy shelves!
Mott's CD Reviews: Robert Plant - Dreamland
Pawed by Mott the Dog
re-mastered by Ella Crew
2 Stars **
Do you remember your old school reports? Believe it or
not some of the rock ‘n’ roll animals, who read these snippets of
purported wisdom in the hallowed pages of Chiang Mai’s leading weekly
tome, are actually young enough to still get school reports. (When are we
going to get a review of ‘Linkin Park’?) However, I must admit there
are more who actually write the reports, than receive them. Anyway, Mott
always used to get his saying things like ‘Could do better, if only he
paid more attention’ or ‘Underachieves due to lack of
concentration’, or the one I always dreaded, the one word review
‘Lazy’. Still, it was better than the report that said ‘Tries very
hard, but does not make much progress’.
Robert Plant’s ‘Dreamland’ (2002) album would
receive one of the former reports, as this collection of songs seems to
have no focal point, but rather feels like thrown together. I find Mr.
Robert (Percy to his friends, for obvious reasons) Plant rather caught
between two stools. He had just come off the back of a couple of albums
and a worldwide tour with old running mate Jimmy Page, which had been the
biggest thing in the rock ‘n’ roll world that year. Enjoying the habit
of touring, Jimmy Page had gathered up ‘The Black Crowes’ and
continued touring, leaving Robert Plant behind to contemplate his future.
After a brief hiatus he put a new band together and came out of the
recording studio with this collection of songs. Unfortunately for
everybody the high expectations were soon shattered.
What you get is an album of some covers (a la David
Bowie with ‘Pin Ups’ and Brian Ferry with ‘Those Foolish Things’
in the seventies) and some originals. Well, it’s a bit more difficult
than that. To be more precise there are definitely six covers and two
originals with the originals being average songs. Nothing awful, but
certainly nothing to make you gasp as in the days of Led Zeppelin. Two of
the songs have writing credits for the band, but one of them, opening song
‘Funny in My Mind’, has the chorus of ‘The Country Joe and the
Fish’ song ‘I’m Fixin to Die’.
‘Win My Train Fare Home’ actually credits all the
band with songwriting as well as acknowledging elements of Arthur ‘Big
Boy’ Brown for ‘If I Ever Get Lucky’ and ‘That’s Alright
Mama’, Robert Johnson for ‘Milk Cow’s Calf Blues’, and John Lee
Hooker for ‘Crawlin’ King Snake’. Now that is a lot of elements to
get into six minutes of an original song.
The trouble with the six covers is that although they
are not bad, it would be an achievement indeed to completely ruin songs of
this caliber. All of these songs have been played better by both the
original artists and other musicians, who have already given definitive
versions. ‘Morning Dew’ by Tim Rose has been turned into a staple of
Nazareth’s live act and recorded on their debut album; ‘One More Cup
Of Coffee’ by Bob Dylan has been given a wonderful new spin by
‘Nutz’ on their third album ‘Hard Nutz’; ‘Song to the Siren’
by Tim Buckley was magnificently covered live by his own son Jeff Buckley
as well as countless other artists; and ‘Darkness Darkness’ by Jesse
Colin Young of the Youngbloods has been set in the stone of rock by
‘Mott the Hoople’ on their ‘Brain Capers’ album. As for ‘Hey
Joe’ by William Roberts, well, you just cannot play that song without
being compared to Jimi Hendrix’s first single and coming off second
best. Final song on the album is Alexander Lee Spence’s ‘Skip’s
Song’, originally recorded by his band ‘Moby Grape’. Now this is a
song that just shouldn’t be messed with. And mess with it is what Robert
Plant and his band of cohorts do. It leaves a very bad ‘taste’ in your
ears, encompassing these songs.
It’s not all bad, the band is competent throughout.
Porl Thompson (ex ‘The Cure’) should be singled out for some fine axe
work. Coming in to work with Robert Plant after Jimmy Page is always going
to be a thankless task (or Robert Plant’s ex-solo guitarist Robbie Blunt
for that matter). But Porl pulls it off adequately while not exactly
setting the world on fire with his version of reverb and fuzz tone.
Robert Plant himself whines and groans his way through
every song. This method of oohs and ahhs was satisfactory, even
groundbreaking in its quieter moments with Led Zeppelin, except then they
were able to follow that up with a musical one-two to your jaw and
stomach. Here there is no light, no shade - perhaps a few belting rockers
might have shaken off the lethargy ... But certainly as a whole this album
is difficult to listen to twice.
Oh well, back to school reports. I think we will just
mark this one ‘disappointing’.
Robert Plant - Vocals
Justin Adams - Guitars, Gimbri, and Darbuka
John Baggat - Keyboards
Charlie Jones - Bass
Porl Thompson - Guitar
Clive Deamer - Drums, and Percussion.
Funny In My Mind
One More Cup Of Coffee
Last Time I Saw Her
Song To The Siren
Win My Train Fare Home
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