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Mott’s CD review
Book Review: The gangster we are looking for
by Lang Reid
this book arrived too late to be included in my review of books from 2004, with
this review being the first of 2005. If it had come across my desk earlier I
would have given it the nod as the best ‘first book’ of 2004.
‘The gangster we are all looking for’ (ISBN
0-330-43473-X, Picador publishing 2004) was written by a Vietnamese immigrant
to America, Le thi diem thuy. It details the life of boat people who escaped
from Vietnam, and in this case, reaching America, the supposed land of milk and
Le thi diem thuy was six years old when her family fled from
Vietnam. On the beach they were split up in the melee of refugees trying to get
on one of the boats. Her mother was left behind on the beach, while her elder
brother drowned trying to reach the boat that had Le and her father on board.
After a refugee camp in Singapore, the pair were teamed up
with another four males (‘uncles’) and they were accepted by America as
She describes going around a supermarket at one in the
morning with her father. They did not have money to buy anything, but just went
there to look, touch and wonder at the kind of goods they had never seen before
- their domestic shopping in war-torn Vietnam being local market fare only.
Her father resorts to alcohol, the strain of living with the
death of his son almost too much to bear. When her mother finally makes it to
America and they are reunited, her parents find that the mores and customs of
the Vietnamese people do not fit in with their new society, and vice-versa.
This is a most powerful and moving book. Le thi diem thuy
manages to paint word pictures that are far more graphic than mere photographs.
The oft quoted “A picture is worth a thousand words” is quite inappropriate
here. Her words are worth a thousand pictures. Not only does she describe her
new surroundings in America as a six year old, but she describes her family,
comprising her parents, her elder brother who drowned trying to flee Vietnam
and her grandparents who remained there.
The traumas undergone by these people are far more than
physical hardship, locked away between decks in fishing boats for weeks, but
the psychological traumas of dislocation from ‘home’, no matter where; the
separation of family members and the culture shocks which span years, are
poignantly inscribed with a scalpel-like sharpness.
The writing is beautiful, even though the subject matter can
at times be heart rending. By the time you get to the last page of this slim
volume, you will have a much greater understanding of the real plight of
refugees. This book is a seminal work that deserves to be incorporated into the
syllabus of schools in this region. English expression wonderfully applied to
become thought provoking images and concepts.
As a first book it is superb. As a literary work in any part of an
author’s life, it is similarly superb. Get this book.
Mott's CD Reviews: Molly Hatchet - Double Trouble, Live
Razzed by Mott The Dog
Snazzed by Ella Crew
3 Stars **
Southern Rock. Breathe deeply and you can smell it. Well, not the music, but
you can sure fill your nostrils with the heavy aroma of Jack Daniels. Southern
Rock comes in many different packages, like Little Feat, very funky; the
Outlaws, country influence; Blackfoot, who veered heavily towards hard rock;
the Allman Brothers, carrying the flag for the blues; and of course Lynyrd
Skynyrd, the ultimate Southern rock band. Molly Hatchet are the Stones and
rhythm and blues influenced Southern rock band. What all the bands have in
common is gruff vocals, a penchant for guitar solos, and no regard to dress
sense as long as it’s blue jeans and cowboy boots, topped off by a Stetson
hat. Also scant notice is taken of expanding waistlines and certainly no regard
is wasted in keeping a stable line-up. Molly Hatchet are true to form in all
This album catches Molly Hatchet in fine form with the great
Danny Joe Brown out in front with his hard living attitude and great diction.
He sang and lived the Southern attitude to the maximum, a great focal point,
charisma just oozed from this man, his vocals completely dominate these
recordings, which is no mean feat considering what is behind him.
Danny Joe Brown can be heard at his absolute best on
Hatchet’s tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd, when they break into an eleven minute
version of ‘Freebird’ in the middle of this set. The song is given an
emotional introduction before the band came crashing in. What a band, too. By
now and after six years on the road, when this concert was recorded on a home
coming gig in Dallas, Texas, and a sultry night in Jacksonville, Florida, the
Hatchet had been reduced to a twin lead guitar attack (there had originally
been three) comprising of Dave Hlubek, who turns in a fine display of slide
playing, and another original Hatchet man Duane Roland.
Backing them up are Bruce Crump on drums and the marvelously
monikered Riff West on bass. Sitting quietly at the side of the stage was the
recently acquired John Galvin on keyboards, but there really isn’t much room
in Southern Rock for tinkling of the ivories with all the guitar and vocal
action going on.
All the classic Hatchet songs are featured here in all their
glory. (One glance at the song titles will tell you what they are about.) The
band takes most songs on the gallop and only occasionally swaggers into a
canter. Certainly do not bother looking for any ballads here; not an album to
sit down to. Instead, turn up the volume to eleven and do some grotesque
gurning down at the front of the stage. Every song here would go down well at
the front in Tahitian Queen’s famous rock ’n’ roll Happy hour on Friday
Molly Hatchet is now embarking on their 25-year anniversary
tour. But, is it really Molly Hatchet you may ask? After this long lifespan,
all of the original members of the band have left. Even this line-up, which
played together six years after the band’s conception, only contained three
originals, and none of these guys are presently with the band. Over the years
new guys arrived to fill the shoes of those who left and Southern Rock is an
attitude, not a line-up. So what the heck, if it sounds good and feels good,
love it. Deep Purple have only got the drummer left from the original quintet,
and they make Spinal Tap look like a stable animal.
So then, why only three Stars? Well, two songs have been
left off from the original release to make it possible to fit onto one CD. When
it comes to releases, this dog wants it all. Then the transfer over onto CD
from the tapes is appalling, losing an awful lot of the bottom end. If ever a
collection of songs needed the double CD re-mastered, made over with additional
tracks, etc., this is it. Warner Brothers have already done a marvelous job of
re-vamping Little Feat’s live album “Waiting for Columbus”. Com’on,
Epic Records, the Hatchet job’s awaiting.
Hatchet members credited with
Danny Joe Baker - Vocals
Dave Hlubek - Lead Guitar, Slide Guitar, and Backing Vocals
Duane Roland - Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Bruce Crump - Drums
Riff Wes - Bass Guitar and Backing Vocals
John Galvin - Piano, Synthesizer, and Backing Vocals
Flirtin’ With Disaster
Stone In Your Heart
Boogie No More
Dreams I’ll Never See
Edge Of Sundown
Fall Of The Peacemakers
Beatin’ The Odds
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