Friday, May 27, 2011

book review Steve Harris The Clairvoyant

Amacam korang?? harap semua ok. Kasi gua tukar cenel lima k.

There are three "book of the year" for this year 2011. Not really Oprah's list or New York bestsellers list, but mine haha.
1) Best local book in Singapore & Malaysia goes to the Sweet Charity 40 years Esplanade gig hardcover coffee table book.
2) The unreleased John McMurtrie hardcover photo coffee table book coming out will be amazing about his travels with Maiden on and of stage all over the world, on the air and on the ground, from 2008 to 2011.
3) Steve Harris The Clairvoyant.

So this is short take on this Steve Harris the Clairvoyant book.

When I first heard of this book about Steve Harris being written by a Maiden fan in Croatia, I was apprehensive. I thought its going to be the old boring formula of "writers digging out old and new articles from all over, translate where necessary, edit it and released it in book form and claiming credit for it", although in this case, one of the reason I take note of the book in the Maiden forum is because the writer is a genuine Maiden fan and not some writers who is writing whatever is the flavour of the month band.

But then once I realise Stipe aka MaidenCroatia is doing something unbelievable that is to really travel outside of Croatia wherever possible, make phone calls to places everywhere - to get fresh interviews from legendary and famous personalities, people who is close or used to be closed to Steve Harris, ex-Maiden band and crew members, and also Maiden fans all over the world who had great and unheard ( at least for me ) stories to share, I knew I had to get a copy. When placing a copy back then, it was more of a " show of morale-support for this Croatian fan than anything else". In fact I was one of the early birds so I got the so called Birthday Edition with the number 029 out of 55.

When I get the book, I realise this book is actually fascinating. It makes the term " done with lots of love for fellow fans " come true. Hard cover, 300 pages ( I think my copy is one of the rare missing some text at the end copy but that dont spoil the book at all as I am not aware of it at all at first ), I realise the binding is really high quality, the paper too and the printing and everything, and all these from a fan of the band. Plus I got a cd with some audio interviews.

And when I start to read, it becomes very absorbing, and I got to take time to digest, page by page, paragraph by paragraph because most of the content is attractive and informative to me.

So I am really glad I got this book, yes, its not cheap, but this is a sort of "self-financed book in very very limited copy that you can only get direct from the writer in a faraway land of Croatia".

Some of the interesting info from this book, I try not to disclose to much as it will be a spoiler to those who are in the process of getting this book.

- This book is not exactly a sort of a biography book.
- Dave Lights went way back with Steve, and I like his info regarding the history tours was already seems wanted to be done in the mid 90s ( Blaze Era?!!? ), and the history of the stage lights that Maiden used. ( like I did blog before, on the first Final Frontier show I see in Singapore, I spent most of Talisman just awe-struck by the lighting design ). And also the breakdown with Maiden.
- Lauren Harris - I super freaking love Rainbow the band. And to have Steve Harris mentioned in the way he does to Lauren about Russ Ballard shows that the Harris family has great taste haha.

- Blaze's chapter about his experience with Steve is nice too.

- Paul Dianno's chapter about what his life with Steve Harris from the early days and to the present, I dont know whether I want to laugh or to cry haha. Paul Dianno is a one of a kind really and its reflected in this book. But now I know more of who is this Charlotte The Harlotte.

- Keith Wilfort, ( he dont know me, but when I was a school boy long time ago, he sent me a card to reject my request of Maiden lyrics after I wrote a letter to the fanclub long ago, and I still keep it haha ) has the old stories of early days. Interesting.
- Slaven Bilic talks about Steve too, yes, I think West Ham United is every Maiden's fan second favourite club, or at least the club they most sympathise with. I think Steve is surely sad they're relegated. But I do hope Arsenal sign that Scott Parker guy.
His story about meeting Steve at Upton Park is fascinating for any Maiden and English football follower.
- Dennis Stratton relating about Maiden and Kiss is great because I love Kiss.. whatever the incarnation , whatever the lineup. This book content makes me appreciates Dennis Straton more.
- The early Maiden members, the ex-crew members, the staffs at recording studio that did Soundhouse Tapes and the RIR DVD guy. I didnt know all these "Strange World" song issue before reading this book and would love to see the way Rock In Rio DVD was originally intended to be. These chapters about these guys are so informative to me. Now I know what Strange World lyrics is intepreted to be haha.
- The writer himself Stipe has direct involvement in many ways with Maiden and Steve, makes very good reading. The band he manages opens for Maiden with a lot of surprises and twists here and there in their experience with Maiden.
- Plus lots of other stories, as its actually 300 pages plus minus with many interesting photos.

- Neal Kay, this legendary person who I think all of us have read or watch on dvd his contributions to the British rock and metal scene of his Bandwagon era, I think this book is worth getting just for the Neal Kay chapters. Neal Kay plays a huge part in Maiden early success and his stories here are so fantastic. Motorhead Lemmy comments to him in regards to Maiden, the air-guitars, the Bandwagon and Soundhouse itself, the KK Downing " attacking " whom he thought was Dave Murray story, the Judas Priest problems with Maiden issue, and lots more. I really like it. Also his Steve Harris recruiting Blaze Bailey story and everything Blaze that he mentioned is just " different " haha... Hope Neal Kay has more to offer to Stipe for the next few books.

Some of the Maiden fans all over the world are in this book, reading about their stories about Steve Harris is fantastic, the drawings that seems alive, the long term dedication and loyalty, the pain, major depressing dissapointments and struggle and all the travelling ( with little or no money, I think I can relate to it haha ) in being a Maiden supporter, the military stories like the Challenger tank involving Steve, and not forgetting the Cree tribe family story.

It would be nice to have Derek Riggs and Martin Birch views definitely, maybe next time?

I do hope to get the Adrian Smith book, which will be the next one Stipe is writting. Would be awesome if there is a story about the person who is the reference for the Stranger in a Strange Land song.

All in all, the content of the book and the quality of the hard cover and binding makes this book a collectible for any Maiden fan.

I was just wondering, the book has no mention at all of anything else on the cover and side besides " Steve Harris The Clairvoyant ". No names of the writer or editor or even a publisher label. Salute.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ulasan Hardcover book + dvd + double cd : Sweet Charity 40 Years Bagaikan Bermimpi concert

Nearly two years ago on 31/5/2009 four surviving members of Sweet Charity performed their 40 Years Anniversary concert at the Singapore's Esplanade Concert Hall. I was there my report is here. Guess all the photos in that blog are gone but never mind, check out some photos of the majestic hall that night from the hardcover book first.

( as usual , click all photos to enlarge )

Sweet Charity is arguably one of the pioneer and the best rock n roll band to ever come out of Singapore and popularise Malay language Rock N Roll music in the early days of Malay Rock N Roll in the 1970s. There will be people who vouch for other bands in the early days such as the original Unwanted, but Sweet Charity has maintain their legendary status even 40 over years later.

A concrete proof - On Sunday multitude of mature gentlemen and ladies with whole families in tow and also younger fans, turning up on a Sunday afternoon in the Esplanade and Queue Up patiently for an hour just to greet the Sweet Charity members.

Above photo is my copy of this release and Ramli Sarip is kind enough to ask and write my name on it which I blurred here haha.
The rest are of course Rosli Mohalim, Rahman Sarbani and AJ. I asked Rahman about the upcoming shows with Blues Gang and I asked him " How long will Sweet Charity be playing? ", with all due respect to Blues Gang, if I go , I will only be looking forward to see Sweet Charity, the rest I am not so keen..

Ignore the background and environment at the time I took these photos.

ok.. the book is serialised, seems its printed a few thousand copies. Mine is 0835.
Hardcover, full colour printed on quality paper.
Thickness is about 60 over pages, all photos are taken from the Esplanade show, there is an essay on Sweet Charity especially in relation to their 40 years anniversary show. The essay did mention on the fifth surviving member missing that night.
Lots of very nice quality photos and lots of photos of the fans..

Now lets talk about the double cd and dvd release, knowing that I like to find fault in locally produced live releases due to their incompleteness when compared to personal bootlegs taped by fans in the audience.

UNFORTUNATELY on cd and dvd - NO BLACK NIGHT. As those who went that night knows, Sweet Charity plays a rousing singalong version of Black Night from Deep Purple. This is similar to the vcd of their 2008 PWTC Kuala Lumpur vcd which excludes Lazy, another Deep Purple song. I guess this has got to do with copyright issues.
UNFORTUNATELY on cd and dvd - NO JALAN MALAM ( Walk at night ). A very nice closing song is not included here for whatever reasons.
UNFORTUNATELY on dvd but the cd has it - THE DVD portion as far as I know do not include the hilarious and nostalgic FUNKY CHICKEN segment. Yes, the cd version has it but not the DVD version. Seeing AJ dancing those dance of 30 - 40 years ago, being egg on by Ramli, is a history lesson haha.

maybe i upload the missing songs on youtube, i mean from my poor quality personal audio bootleg i made.

There is this page ( above )...Sweet Charity has done it with a lot of taste, and respect. People were saying how come there is no mention at all of the late bassist and keyboardist - Syed Hassan and Masrom, during the Sweet Charity show, but seems from the two pages on this book featuring the family members photos of the original band who were present on that nite and also this tribute page in the book, answers it all.

In conclusion,

I think this is a very well done , fantastic book on a very significant moment of a great band and also its fans.
If you view the dvd, you can actually see lots of camera shots of the audience which is made up of people of all ages. I think I highlight it in capital - PEOPLE OF ALL AGES..
So its a sort of a document to show the power Sweet Charity has on the masses, a recognition of the true , the original mat rock and minah rockers of the 70s.
The song Batu ( Stone ), has an intro of Ramli Sarip walking down the history of Sweet Charity and also Singapore, speaking of places, villages, landmarks, schools that are long gone, and only remains a memory.

So looking at this book , hearing the double cd, and watching the dvd is not just Malay rock n roll. Its much much more than that.

Skarang, bebual melayu lak pasal sweet charity esplanade ni -

1) cd and dvd - takde black night, takde jalan malam. Nasib baik, aku dah pekik2 part " RABA!! RABA!!! " haha. malu siak kalo ada video aku pekik tu part.
2) Audience shot banyak, selamat la korang yang masuk kat dvd ni haha...
3) dvd takde AJ joget funky chicken dan step anak abu tapi cd ada lak.
4) aku suka buku ni, Sweet Charity tulis pasal arwah Syed Hassan and Masrom dan foto family members dorang... touching dan penuh makna.
5) apa lagi eh....aku pun tak tahu apa nak highlight...cuma buku kulit tebal ni nye kandungan memang best dan jugak dvd dan double cd memang aku puas hati la...takde komplen sangat.

Nanti senang aku upload semua foto, setiap page buku ni dalam multiply aku....
maybe lagi seminggu kot haha.. kalo aku rajin la.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mutiara Zaman - Rimbunan Duet Klasik Ramli Sarip

Ceritanya, smalam aku singgah Esplanade time tengah hari pasal kumpulan Sweet Charity tengahari smalam memang kat sana untuk tandatangan buku hardcover/double cd/dvd/persembahan 40 tahun dorang yang diadakan kat Esplanade 2009 dulu. Ni nanti aku cer citer next post.

Jadi aku ambik kesempatan suruh Ramli Sarip autographed latest release dia Mutiara Zaman - Rimbunan Duet Klasik.

Ulas sikit, Aku cuma nak cakap ada empat lagu baru, termasuk satu lagu dia ngan Dayang Nurfaizah yang aku suka sangat Musafir Rindu.
Pasal satu kawan dah mati, then lagi satu kawan nanti cakap dia konfem akan menyusul.
Seems ni song pun liriks by Hartinah Ahmad, ditulis 10 tahun lepas dan kena perap, tapi skarang baru rakam, dan since Lovehunters tu hari atas stage puji dan sebut penulis lirik ni aku was like checking out Malay songs dan aku perasan memang terror rupanya lirik2 dia.
"Aku bagai musafir lalu, menyusuli mu sudah tentu".

Rest of the 22 songs dalam double cd tak yah banyak berbual, duets ngan SM Salim dah memang kecohrable abis ( aku prefer Selapis Kasih Berdulang Rindu over Lagu Zaman ), duets ngan Khatijah Ibrahim yang memang kebanyakkan lagu dorang duet memang spectacular abis, all the lagu2 melayu asli style, keroncongs, the syair duet with Jamal Abdillah, lagi satu ada satu lagu very melayu ngan yang Jay Jay tu.. Senandong Hidup Berbudi or something, the duets with Kopratasa, not forgetting the A Romzi Bukan Kerana Nama duet, dan of course the rocking Kembara Kita duet with Ella.

Satu lagu je aku tak berkenan, just because ada Mawi. Tak berkenan langsung aku kat Mawi ni.. buang space kat cd aku beli ni, puas hati taruk alternate version lagu2 lain pasal ada lagu cam lepas rakam balik orang lain nyanyi contoh Ku Miliki Bayang Mu ngan Francissca Peters which memang gerek tapi original pun memang best.

Ada satu lagu baru was like duet anak bapak "Sayang Abah", was like kecoh siak lagu ni, seems dorang tengah bertekak pasal si bapak tak suka boifren si anak or something like that.

Nyanyian Serambi lak ni latest version was like Ramli Sarip ngan children from some welfare homes or something, aku suka, in fact ni release seems is to support the less fortunate children in an organisation in Malaysia or something... so its a meaningful buy.

Aku would rate ni as the best Ramli Sarip collection since the very rare, super ultra mega not-to-be-repeated quadruple cd boxset Ziarah Seni many many years ago. Tu memang tak boleh fight, tapi yang ni memang ok.

ooo dapat paper bag cantik giler ni, paper bag Mutiara Zaman.

Next, is the reason why I actually went to see the Ramli Sarip and the rest of the ( surviving ) Sweet Charity guys yesterdays...

I try to write a bit on the clairvoyant book if I got the time this week..