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Book Review

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Book Review: Red Sky Falling

by Lang Reid

Christopher G Moore appears to be flooding my local Bookazine’s shelves to overflowing these days. He is a most prolific writer, and when an author is ‘hot’ you can safely re-release previous works, such as has been done with Dan Brown’s books following the runaway success of the Da Vinci Code. Consequently, Red Sky Falling (ISBN 974-92385-7-5, Heaven Lake Press) is also a 2005 re-release of his 1994 book Saint Anne, and I was interested to see just how apt it would be for today’s critical readers.

The common thread in all of Moore’s books appears to be his ability to see the outstanding details in what is otherwise the ordinary, and then be able to describe these in a way to make everyone see them. The pen portrait of a neglected old man is searching and knife edged in its clarity. “Mother said about that time Father had started to look like what she imagined Truman Capote might have degenerated into had he lived that long.” And on the next page, “In his old age, Father’s hair grew wild and bushy in his ears like some kind of wiry, climbing vine. In his right ear was a plastic hearing aid; the old-fashioned kind, flesh colored and oblong, the shape of a coffin for a cockroach.” We have all seen such a man, but we have not been able to paint such an eloquent word picture.

The book covers the exploits of the Harvey Trio, a sometime musical polyglot group made up of people from different ethnic backgrounds who were adopted by the Harvey senior as a personal social experiment.

Moore knows how to bring out the human emotion, and the pages dealing with the psychological chasm after a baby’s death and having a replacement as almost an immediate surrogate is almost classical Freudian, but played out in believable circumstances.

Through the book you are taken on the voyage of growing up as someone ‘different’ from the society you are placed in. One brother poignantly reveals the sickness in our society when he complains to his (adoptive) father that his sister was the subject of racial intolerance. “I will write a note to the principal,” said the father. The boy replies, “When someone called me a nigger you wrote a note. And all that happened was that I got beat up. So writing notes don’t help much as far as I can see.” Society’s ‘instant fix’ is not based on reality. Getting beaten up is.

Red Sky Falling is an amazingly deep novel. It is a believable case history of a dysfunctional family, which would have been enough to sustain the book on its own. The fact that author Moore has taken this family and cast them as central characters in a human trafficking underworld is almost secondary to the theme of the book itself, which for me was a sad reflection of the ‘real’ world played out on a fictional stage.

At B. 595 this is not an expensive book when you look at the word pictures between the covers. A powerful novel, get it, and enjoy it.

Mott's CD Reviews: Humble Pie - In Concert

From Mott the Dog
via Ella Crew

5 Stars *****

A month after Humble Pie’s breakthrough album, the seventies seminal double live album ‘Performance - Rockin’ the Fillmore’, Peter Frampton found life in ‘the Pie’ all just a bit much, and upped sticks for a solo career. This left a great big hole in the pie so to speak.

Lead singer and original Small Faces Steve Marriott took a quick look round and found his old guitar slinging mate Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson without a billet. Clem had been suppressing his hard rock urges within the jazz/rock confines of Coliseum, who had just disbanded in disarray. Thus he was ready and eager to get it on in the Pie.

The combination was unstoppable and the Pie went onto even greater heights. All albums went Top Ten internationally, and the Pies found themselves at the very top of the rock ‘n’ roll tree.

At the prime of their powers they performed a concert for America’s famous music radio show King Biscuit Flower Hour at the Winterland theater in San Francisco (6 May 1973), which has now been released on CD. The band was promoting their ‘Eat It’ album and for the tour had added three sultry American lady backup singers, known collectively as the Blackberries. They gave the music a whole new dimension without taking away any of the Pie clout.

After the opening salvo of the perfect opener ‘Up Our Sleeves’ and Ida Cox’s ‘Four Day Creep’, Clempson’s and Marriott’s guitars get down and dirty on Eddie Cochran’s ‘C’mon Everybody’. Marriott’s chunky guitar riffs are overlaid by Clempson’s sharp-like guitar licks, and backed up by Greg Ridley’s thunderous bass, the powerhouse drumming of Jerry Shirley, and, of course, the Blackberries. Clempson gets to do his Keef Richards thing all over Honky Tonk Woman; and Steve Marriot does his very best Ray Charles impressions on ‘Blues I Believe To My Soul’.

A nod is given to past debts with a rockin’ version of Peter Frampton’s ‘Stone Cold Fever’, ‘Thirty Days In The Hole’, and ‘Roadrunner’, they are stretched out by the gospel according to Steve Marriott. Greg Ridley gets a chance to show off his vocal chops during a complete re-vamping of ‘Hallelujah, I Love Her So’. The set proper is brought to a rousing conclusion by a twelve minute barnstorming ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’, Humble Pie’s anthem.

Naturally the audience demands the band comes back for an encore. They duly obliged and serve up a hefty slice of ‘Hot ‘n’ Nasty’ before leaving the crowd still wanting more.

In between songs you are treated to Steve Marriott’s spontaneous cockney raps, where he demonstrates why he was regarded as one of the finest singers to ever come from the British Isles, although I do suggest you put your hands over any children’s ears. I wonder if these little bits of Marriott wisdom went out live over the airwaves or were they bleeped out?

Admittedly, it all went a bit stale later for the Pie, but for those of you who know Pie’s famous live album ‘Performance’ trust me, this is even better.

Humble Pie
Steve Marriott – Guitar, Vocals
Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson - Guitar
Greg Ridley - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Shirley - Drums
The Blackberries (Venetta Field, Clydie King, Billie Barnum - Background Vocals


Up Our Sleeves
Four Day Creep
C’mon Everybody
Honky Tonk Woman
Stone Cold Fever
Blues I Believe To My Soul
Thirty Days In The Hole
Hallelujah, I Love You So
I Don’t Need No Doctor
Hot ‘n’ Nasty

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