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                       POETRY - AUDIO CD COLLECTION

 

Apart from my own Audio CD collection, Bard For Life, which I will leave to others to review, I have a modest collection of audio CD recordings of   poetry which can now be reviewed, for the quality of the poems, and the performances, and general value for money. Anthologies are presented by the CD titles.  CD’s by individual poets are reviewed in alphabetical order.  CD’s are given star ratings at my personal discretion, from one to five, awful to brilliant).

 

                             ANTHOLOGIES

 

THE BEST POETRY ALBUM IN THE WORLD...EVER! Awful title for a collection, though in keeping with various   works in a series covering every kind of popular, classical, and jazz music among others.  The poems are a totally undaring set of standards, from Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet, to Seamus Heaney’s Wedding Day in chronological order.  The readings are all   perfectly good ones, by a host of celebrities from Hugh Grant to Isla Blair and Joss Ackland.  The best   is Dale Winton’s lovely reading of The Owl And The Pussycat, and Brian Blessed is just right for Dylan Thomas’s Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. The collection lacks daring or imagination, and falls into the old anthology trap of including extracts from longer works like The Ballad Of Reading Gaol (Oscar Wilde) read by Joss Ackland.  Overall quality ***

 

          POETRY BY INDIVIDUAL NAMED ARTISTS

 

                                    LES BARKER 

 

AROVERTHERAPY Very funny live stand up recordings of one of the folk/poetry scene’s   brightest stars, capturing not only a great range of poems, but also the cheers, applause and groans of an audience encouraged to interact very effectively. Barker comes across as a cross between Mike Harding and Stanley Holloway, (who’s famous Albert An The Lion   monologue is spoofed to perfection here.) The highlight is the first track, Spot The Zebra, which is hysterical even the tenth time you listen to it. Sixteen tracks, excellent value. *****

 

AN INFINITE NUMBER OF OCCASSIONAL TABLES More surreal than Arovertherapy, The occasional table   that turns into chairs, wardrobes, and so forth, with references to Platonic forms and other literary/philosophical concepts and conceits without   being too clever for the audience). As funny as any other CD by Barker, with fewer but longer tracks, and the same banter with the audience   and wickedly deliberate bad punning.  Class *****

                                                            JIM BENNETT

 

DOWN IN LIVERPOOL - With 31 poems and songs from an excellent wordsmith, this is tremendous value. The songs are so good that you wish there were more of them, and the poems have poignancy and charm all of their own. Jim brings many real life characters    out in full bloom in here, from the street urchin, Billy with a snotty nose to his friend who thinks women are dogs and never stops jerking him off. Then there are the serious poems, the touching study of the death of a loved one, and a    sense of a kind, compassionate poet   and musician of some stature.  *****

 

                                       QUIBALAH MONTSHO

 

TROUBLED MIND Strong sensitive poems on      surviving hospital treatment and ill health, and abusive relationships, which works on several levels, in a very distinctive lyrical voice,   - you know these poems could not be read with true feeling or justice by anyone other than the author herself.  The only problem with this CD is that it is too short, and really does need more material to give more people encouragement to buy   a copy. ****

 

GORDON ZOLA

 

NO STRINGS Performance poetry and song at its best, from Wigan’s   woolly hatted cheeky chappie, rich in popular culture references, highly influenced by rap, with some incredibly well worked out rhymes and rhythms. The title suggests that the poems and songs are unplugged, but there is a strong and very well integrated backing track score. There may be only six tracks, but most are quite long and detailed.  Very entertaining and the seriousness of the closing track, Lament which I have seen Gordon perform in tribute to a deceased friend, the poet Trevor James, is deeply moving. Great value, and Gordon is a poet always worth seeing on the Manchester performance circuits. *****

 

 

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