Thursday, July 21, 2011

So, what have I been up to?

I took a couple of weeks holiday. Played my guitar[s], read some books, watched a bit of TV. It was relaxing.
I read Jeffery Deaver's up-date on James Bond, Carte Blanche, and found it to be a satisfying, exciting story. Good settings, interesting characters, and a villain who was...disturbed to say the least. Better than some of the post- Ian Fleming Bonds. Then I read Joe Gores' Spade and Archer the prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Gores had also written Hammett which saw the writer drawn in to a detective story not unlike his own work. Gores is a strong writer, and so his take on Sam Spade is respectful of the original and builds him into the detective that Hammett introduced. Of course, most people recognize Spade as Humphrey Bogart, and those folks won't be disappointed either. Another fun read.
Also got a look at Julian Dawson's biography of rock's sessionman extraordinaire. And on piano...Nicky Hopkins gets my full attention on Sleeping Hedgehog, but let me tell you, it's a dynamite tale.
I went to see Richard III at Stratford which featured Seana McKenna in the title role. It's been a tad controversial but I have to say she totally convinced me that she was a miaserable crippled king!
We also visited Toronto's Sound Academy to see Leon Russell. Paul James opened the show for some rocking blues and then Leon and his band really rocked the place with a career overview. See my full review on the Critics at Large blog!
New music? Blackie & the Rodeo Kings Kings & Queens, Gillian Welch's new one, and a bunch of Jack White produced 45s from Third Man Records. Vinyl? Yes, vinyl. I've been buying vinyl because, I can read the liner notes! See also Van Dyke Parks' new website, Bananastan, for subscription information. The music is beautiful, as is the presentation. Great artwork.
Friday night we celebrated Dr. Disc's 20th Anniversary by attending one of their free rooftop concerts. The Steve Strongman Band gave us forty-five minutes of blues in the Hammer. It was a gorgeous night...