Lucky Shamrock Slots Review & Free Instant Play Game

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Jimi Hendrix, of course, and when you do one of his you have to be confident of your guitar playing. Hain comes through with flying colours, showing that he can handle his guitar as well as his talent for making a song his own.

He can do straight reggae as well and Everybody's Talking To Themselves with chatting over a grinding reggae beat is testament to that. Feels So Nice is a straightforward blues with Hain turning is a voice of pure velvet.

This is the perfect way to chill out so pour yourself a glass of whatever you fancy and settle down. He opens strongly with Fine Time Child, which is blues rock with reggae style middle eight.

This features Errol Linton on harmonica and is a good introduction to the world of Tim Hain. As with many of his other tracks he gives it a reggae flavour and he has turned in a very good version.

It's well produced and there's some excellent guitar work. This, of course, was made famous by Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac and, played in Hain's style, has turned into quite a happy song.

Somebody Turn On The Light is great white boy reggae with Hain's voice sounding like velvet and Pauline Henry adding her not inconsiderable vocal talents.

The good times continue with a rousing version of the well-known Madness Is Gladness and on Everybody's Talking To Themselves he shows that, although he's not Jamaican, he is the real deal.

Welcome To Iraq is, not surprisingly, another anti-war song and Tim manages to blend slide guitar and reggae very well. Clever slant on this one.

The eponymous title track is just One Man Went To Mow by another name and, despite being well played and sung, is probably the weakest track on offer.

Tim is back to the blues on Feels So Fine which swings along well enough with some good guitar and the spoken lyric is ok.

Tim can't help himself however and flits off into his reggae rhythms. There's another classic in the shape of Misty Blue and this fits into Tim's style very well.

Clea Llewellen provides the vocal and there's no doubting that Sunnysideup are a reggae band. I can't wait to see this powerful performer.

The gifted young Glasgow-based harpist Rachel delivered her well-appointed debut album Hubcaps And Portholes around two years ago, since which time she's cemented her reputation with some abundantly sparkling live gigs in newly-convened trio mode in company with acoustic guitarist Paul Tracey and double-bassist Andy Sharkey.

But truth to tell, her harp does still provide a welcome focal point for the album's multifarious musical adventures, and Rachel's innovative textures and supple phrasing are a perfect guide to the musical landscape, tracing the most gorgeous patterns in the ether which you can't resist following avidly.

On The Lucky Smile, Rachel's fortunate to have acquired the services of producer Angus Lyon himself a highly respected accordionist, of course , who brings Rachel's own cool talent into relief not only in the surroundings of her trio but also utilising the additional textures provided by drummer Scott Mackay and cajon player Paul Jennings, with scintillating guest appearances from jazz violinist Graham McGeoch on Rachel's own composition Tsunami Jack and superb, award-winning Gaelic singer Joy Dunlop on an Argyll love-song, which also features Angus on harmonium, and a Lochaber narrative ballad.

The percussionists impart a delicious jazzy swing to the proceedings, moving between beautifully relaxed syncopations and funkier climes: Rachel's music should have an appeal even to those who would normally shun the harp, for this is a really satisfying disc, full of subtle delights and innumerable charms.

Rachel, hailing from Ullapool in the inordinately beautiful north-west of Scotland, is a young and gifted exponent of the clarsach Scottish harp who's just released this light, airy yet satisfyingly substantial CD of music that well shows the instrument's strength as a solo instrument.

For this reason, any accompaniment is kept to a very bare and very sensitive minimum piano - Douglas Millar - on three of the disc's eleven tracks and flute - Peter Webster - on just one, the curiously-titled Chandni Chowk - and yes, Rachel succeeds triumphantly in convincing me of the clarsach's capabilities.

Rachel's source material is drawn from the traditions of both Ireland and Scotland mirroring those of her parents , yet she brings to these idioms a delicately expressive quality of her own which is most attractive yet hard to pinpoint more exactly; perhaps it's something in the gentleness of her attack?

Rachel also proudly showcases her own compositional abilities with a handful of her own tunes including the delightful, breezy jig Starry-eyed Lads and the CD's title track which has already a firm favourite among harp players!

All in all, this is an eminently tasteful, refreshing and subtly uplifting album, not in the least tedious or unduly esoteric. Even though the dominant mode is soft-focus, there's grit in Rachel's playing too.

Yes, the disc's a delight from start to finish, and beautifully recorded too by the way; although of course it helps if you're not immune to instrumental charms of the tenderly plucked variety!

I'll not harp on, then - but equally, don't let it pass you by. Farewell To The Fainthearted is the album you didn't know you had to have until you heard it.

The seven members of Halfway, including the Dublin born brothers Noel and Liam Fitzpatrick have taken Americana, alt country, country rock, or whatever else you want to call it, back to the wrong side of the tracks.

These are songs about lives lived against a backdrop of rusted, broken trucks, dirt roads and stray dogs. Farewell To The Fainthearted is a gritty, no frills slice of realism, set to unforgiving guitars played with an energy and belief that can only come from personal experience.

The rock n roll simmers and bubbles and its country influence, largely courtesy of the Fitzpatrick brothers, hasn't been softened by city living.

But what Farewell To The Fainthearted does, almost imperceptibly, is draw the listener into its web. In real life, love is never clean cut and there's a kick in the teeth lurking round every corner for all of us.

Halfway play the soundtrack to an imperfect world. However in the midst of Farwell To The Fainthearted lies Miles and Miles Of Love, a song so tender that it appears that the band must have been caught in an unguarded moment revealing their gentle side.

It's made all the more poignant because it seems so isolated. Farwell To The Fainthearted is a complete and self-contained album, nothing on it requires anything that the band and a small and select group of guests can't supply.

It's stuffed with catchy, layered melodies carrying beautifully written and constructed lyrics but above all it generates its own heat.

Even the accursed 'hidden' track works well, Lowell George's Willin takes the band from its native Australia and plants it firmly in its spiritual home, southern USA.

Not a bit of it this is a band that's already there. Over the intervening years they've never disappointed, but they've also continually developed their craft, greatly helped by fellow-muso John Carey in particular to whom the Halls' latest CD, on around half of which he sports his trademark violin, is dedicated.

Songs From The Shore is definitely the Halls' best recording yet, and sensibly majors mostly on acoustic-roots-rock rather than folk, albeit that it sets off with a cracking, full-tilt rendition of Child Ballad No aka House Carpenter.

The remainder comprises self-penned material, six songs by each of the brothers - and mighty fine they are too, displaying a bold maturity and an increasingly literate expressiveness.

Many of the songs just cry out to be covered, stuff that wouldn't disgrace a Show Of Hands or latterday Fairport album methinks, with a grand sense of melodic construction and proportion that shows how much they've learnt from their peers.

And you're also likely to have fun, I'll bet, spotting the sneaky, what you might term "closet" folky, references, idiomatic twists and quirks that betray the brothers' formative influences but in a thoroughly nice way like Another Turning Day' s rippling Thompsonesque guitar undertow, and Shanty 's sturdy seadog structure.

The album's title reflects a certain inclination towards "watery" or nautical metaphor, and gives the CD an extra level of artistic unity alongside other purely musical elements such as the Halls' superb acoustic playing and their signature excellent solo and harmony vocal work which is still is there in abundance as you'd expect if you've heard their previous work.

The surprise for some will be that at the other end of the scale from the brothers' brand of delicate modern acoustic-based balladry several tracks also have a rather harder, kickass edge with full and effective use of electric guitar with drumkit courtesy of the aptly-named Nic Shipp high up there in the mix.

And bloody good they all sound too! Oh, and any violin duties not undertaken by John Carey are beautifully fulfilled by Hannah Bunyan; all other instrumental parts are played by the Halls themselves, naturally.

The whole album has a great live vibe to it, and the recording's clean and positive cheers, Andy Bell of Spike Productions. It takes what's described as the 60ss singer-songwriter aesthetic of her third record White Street , and marries it to an eminently approachable brand of new-millennium acoustica.

That entails gentle and engaging but at the same time highly assured vocal work, pleasingly mature songwriting and appealing, carefully conceived small-ensemble arrangements.

While admitting that not every one of the disc's ten songs will necessarily score top marks for memorability or longevity, there are more than enough delightful experiences to encourage the listener on to make further discoveries.

Lest my words cause you to feel I'm damning with faint praise, I must say that subsequent playthroughs have revealed deeper pleasures beyond an initial impression of slightly lightweight.

Although Jezz hails from Cambridge, he's best known on the local folk and acoustic club scene of Nottingham, where he moved in the 80s.

As such, he's been endorsed by Pete Morton, whom he's supported on tour. Jezz has an assured and vital presence both vocally and instrumentally, as well as a telling confidence in his own lyrical abilities, and the excellent recorded quality of the self-co-produced Smalltown brings these qualities out to perfection.

Some accompanying musicians are used sparingly on a mere handful of tracks, but they in no measure detract from Jezz's own distinctive personality.

Jezz's singing style is attractively husky, almost casual at times yet with a compelling approach to phrasing and onward momentum that never allows your attention to drift; surprisingly, as on Favourite Girl , I found myself detecting shades of Donovan in the precision of his delivery, but without the latter's feyness.

Musically, most of the album is gently powerful and thoughtful, partly influenced by folk tradition and partly by the contemporary acoustic troubadours.

Seven Days had me visualising Nick Drake accompanied by Davy Graham, and Baxter's Mines seemed a credible contemporary take on the traditional Blackleg Miner , from which it clearly derives both structure and inspiration.

Fortune's Waters is a beautiful if maybe Dylanesque, at least in that man's more traditional mode lonesome traveller's ballad, while Secret Heart has a similarly engimatic, yearning simplicity that recalls vintage Michael Chapman, and Closer To You has all the ramblin' wistful bluesiness of Chris Smither or perhaps even Mark Knopfler.

The "odd tracks out" inhabit an altogether jauntier bluesy-ragtime groove which I more quickly tired of in comparison halfway through track 7 in fact and Prescription Blues , which owes much to the Wizz Jones school of prime acoustic bluesiness; in retrospect, perhaps the title track oughtn't to have been placed right at the start of the CD, since it gives a misleading impression of the musical idiom of the remainder.

The Hall family of Horsham, West Sussex was a singing family, yet unlike the members of other more well-known "singing families", Mabs and her four sons would sing mostly at family gatherings; they did not frequent folk clubs, and not all their songs were folk songs.

One of the sons, Gordon, developed his own arguably quite idiosyncratic singing style entirely independently of the "folk" scene, for he had no specific knowledge of that scene until a visit to a folk club in the early s and a chance reading of a folk magazine article about Bob Copper, whom he subsequently visited with his mother.

These occurrences made him realise that his mother's "quaint old songs" were more important than he'd hitherto realised, and so he devoted his retirement to researching these and other songs from the folk corpus.

Word got round about Gordon's dynamic singing and unusual songs, and Mike Yates recorded both Gordon and his mother in the mids. Gordon who died in was a fine singer indeed, with a truly unmistakable, forthright and intensely commanding and loud!

Some distinctive features of his style such as his penchant for emphasising ends of lines with an exaggerated "ya" verge on mannerism, and not everyone will warm to his singing some folks found it positively intimidating!

Mabs was a singer of charm and character too, and although by the time she was recorded then in her 80s she lacked the evenness of tone and delivery with which Gordon was blessed she was still in remarkably good voice.

The drawback was that by that time she had forgotten many of her songs, and so the majority of these recordings of Mabs are either short songs including fascinating variants such as Cecilia or fragmentary performances.

The remaining ten songs present Gordon in typically formidable full fettle, and although he was known for singing the fullest versions of his songs he would equally readily crop or omit verses in performance depending on his mood or how he was being received.

Gordon's take on The Bitter Whaling amusingly typo-ed as Wailing on the outer track list! Grounds is suitably persuasive, and economic at just two and a half minutes, while his gloriously stentorian Sweet Lavender street-cry would certainly persuade me to buy his wares!

One or two of his performances eg Blandford In The Mud, Salonika verge on the "shouty" maybe, but I'd much rather hear this kind of unbridled involvement with a song any day than experience an anodyne rendition.

In fact, I find Gordon's singing both captivating and hugely enjoyable; if you do too, then I'd urge you to acquire his solo CD Good Things Enough on the Country Branch label, and also available from Veteran's mailorder service , also seeking out the four other Veteran releases which include tracks by him.

Even if you're not totally won over, you can't deny the importance of this treasurable release which by the way comes with the usual excellent, fulsome standard of booklet in bringing to our attention two under-appreciated traditional singers.

David Kidman February Releasing his debut album back in , Hall spent four years fronting The Stormbringers the band in which Michael Weston King played prior to forming The Good Sons , releasing four albums before relocating to Nashville for a solo career.

Three further critically acclaimed albums followed before he returned home to open his Voodoo Room recording studios.

A fifth Stormbringers album followed in , but then he dropped below the radar for a decade, finally returning with two albums, Songs From The Voodoo Rooms with Ian Bailey and, his first solo album in 15 years, That Old Brand New, both of which sadly appear to have passed me by.

So, the arrival of this new album was like meeting up with an old friend again after many years and discovering that, while they may look and sound older, they've matured with time like a fine whisky.

Again joined by Bailey on vocals and guitars with assorted guest contributions on mandolin, banjo, lap steel, dobro, and strings, it's an acoustic collection of roots-country music variously grained with Texas dust, Appalachian pines and honky tonk fumes.

Hall's voice has seasoned and deepened into a warm, slightly husky twang which on barroom weepie I Can't Believe She's Gone sounds somewhere between George Jones and Johnny Cash while the beautiful reflective Long Mynd Mornings has definite hints of John Stewart.

These are well balanced by a fine selection of slower or mid-tempo tracks; the metronomic rumbling and spooked dobro of A Country Mile From The Shore's reflections on a life lived, a steadily strummed A Small Price To Pay which, complete with harmonies and harmonica, could easily pass for an Everlys country classic, the twang and warble Still My Reason Why and the terrific close harmony Red Dirt Roads about a girl leaving home and baby to become a big city singing star and finding only a jar of empty dreams and an audience of drunks and losers.

The only niggle is that there's no lyric sheet, but with this and a second My Darling Clementine album due, classic old school country has never been in better British hands.

This master melodeonist from Norfolk is a real character with a quirky and individual style and a determinedly uncompromising outlook on life.

And a brilliant cartoonist, by the by see the album's cover! Stubbornly but entirely legitimately, Tony revels in the sound of his antique Hohner melodeons with their noisy key-clicking - which as far as I'm concerned gives his recordings a special appeal, and my ears at any rate soon grow accustomed to it!

And yes, it's true, there is no instrumental multitracking whatsoever on this disc, for one of the features of Tony's playing is his ability to sound like two people are each playing a melody line at the same time.

This is but one element of the wide appeal of his performances: Tony shares with Brian Peters and John Kirkpatrick to name but two the distinction of being an able-fingered squeezer who can credibly sequence The Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance, waltzes both lovely and lively, some ragtime, a Jimmy Shand piece, a Howard Keel showtune and even a bizarrely soulful rendition of Strange Fruit yes, the very song Billie Holliday made famous - and do them all justice.

Not to mention that inimitable Norfolk accent and ripe sense of humour on his own Down On The Hard careful! Only one puzzle remains: Tony's defiant but slightly self-deprecating booklet notes term his Enigma Of The Southwold Tide "the most boring song ever written" - no way!

This whole CD is a totally honest, proud and immensely enjoyable little gem full of goonishly-delightful moments, to whom no-one in their right mind should fitfully admonish "Shut up Beccles!

A real historical artefact, this, as it contains some long-thought-lost recordings which have recently surfaced, and whose provenance requires a little explanation.

If last year you purchased the recently-republished Halliard: Although Dave had kept the master tape safe, shortly afterwards the Halliard itself were no more; that tape therefore lay gathering dust, coming to light again only last year during a house clearance.

The recordings have now been remastered by John Bushby, taming the original "artificial" stereo image, and they now sound pretty good for their time.

And for the most part, the singing and playing therein has a tremendous vitality. All are interesting at the very least, and some - for example Nic's intriguing and unusual new melody for Death Of Nelson, the tricky metre of his Bold Captain Grant, the gentle resignation of Sad Lamentation Of John Kington somewhat reminiscent of Paul Simon!

The remaining five of the tracks are renditions of songs which fitted the character of the urban broadside - and, typically, the overall theme of the collection, in that all the songs deal with the heroic or the villainous.

The disc's unofficial "theme" provides a ready-made excuse for it to lead off with a set of what we now recognise as better-known material, but this may be a mistake as I feel the first four of these are the least successful in terms of the treatments or it may be, of course, that the songs are over-familiar or that I just don't respond to the songs themselves.

Finally, as an addendum to the 15 tracks from that tape, The Last Goodnight! These final three tracks complete the available audio versions of the entire canon of broadsides featured in the aforementioned book.

All told, this is an essential acquisition for admirers of Nic Jones and the Halliard alike, with honest and vital performances that transcend mere historical-artefact value.

This brand new publication reviving the Halliard name takes pride of place in the review section this issue, as for many it will be an essential acquisition.

It takes the form of an A4 songbook with companion CD. The book contains 30 broadsides set to tunes composed by Nic and Dave together with an instrumental piece by Nic with Nigel.

The companion near-hour-long CD contains 17 tracks 16 songs and the aforementioned instrumental piece, all appearing in the book itself , ten of which are new recordings recorded and mixed over 12, miles - for Dave now lives and works in Hobart, Tasmania!

Nigel's current musical partners-in-crime Ralph Jordan and John Dipper were also heavily involved, largely in the mastering and production of the recordings, while the whole project has been ably masterminded by Nic's wife Julia.

And it's a hell of an achievement too, notwithstanding its scholarly, historical and yes, nostalgic importance. So now to deal with the individual elements of the package.

Inserted into the middle of the book, on coloured paper, is the full transcription six pages, plus two of notes of the tune Tae The Weavers Gin Ye Go.

The songs are preceded by a useful "short historie of the Halliard" penned by Dave, which sets the record straight once and for all on some long-and-hard-disputed myths such as the real story behind the creation of the tune to Boys Of Bedlam!

The typefaces chosen are just right, clear and readable, and layout is attractive and easy on the eye.

My only criticism on the book's presentation is that the songs are not given in the same order as on the companion CD, which would have made more sense rather than necessitating reference to the index of contents each time.

Moving on to the CD then: They're very much in the robust, perfectly accessible style that has been accepted and used as a kind of template ever since and which the Halliard had found already in practice around the clubs when they first went out to tour the material!

In truth however, it hasn't really dated - at least, in the sense that you can still hear many club singers performing songs such as Calico Printer's Clerk and Lancashire Lads in the "approved" style heard on this CD, so much so that it might appear that the odd intervening years have seen little appreciable change in "popular-folk" tastes or performance style.

Whatever your take on that issue, it's clear that the quality of the singing and playing on the CD is consistent between the eras and whether modern or original recording holds up just fine.

And of course it's good to hear Nic singing again; that in itself represents considerable progress and should not be underestimated.

Although the book does not precisely differentiate the temporal provenance of the individual tracks, I'd guess that the first seven are those taken from the original master; and aside from some occasional minor waverings in pitch and a small mastering blip that occurs around twenty seconds before the end of track 6 A Thousand Miles Away , the engineers have done a splendid job and the recordings' age is only betrayed by an intermittent slight flakiness in timbre of the instrumental accompaniments on these tracks - certainly not worth worrying about in any way.

I probably say this every time Kieran releases a new album, but his latest offering his 19th studio album! Kieran's singing voice is immediately recognisable, as are the distinctive traits of his personal expression and musical idiom.

It's not an easy trick to pull off time and again when it could easily become so predictable, but Kieran always manages to ring the changes and keep the listener's interest even when exploring familiar themes in his songwriting.

This time round, the devil's even more in the detail, so to speak: The songs themselves radiate Kieran's typically assured demeanour, his solid, unflinching and yet supremely sensitive stance; inevitably there's still a hefty measure of anger and aggression largely at the state of the world that's to be worked through, and the opening pair of songs kinda gets it out of the system, by railing against the lack of viable alternatives the title track and an anthemic expression of our understandable lack of faith God Has No Plan.

Kieran so often voices one's own innermost feelings in language that's so simple we wonder why we've not written the songs ourselves, but it's Kieran's skill as a songwriter that makes something special out of these reactions, beliefs and experiences.

This applies whether Kieran's examining political issues or helping us to come to terms with romance, relationships and "real life", and he's almost always able to derive a measure of comfort from adversity.

Several songs are air-punching homilies that make optimum use of devices such as repetition, staccato rhythms and smart rhymes to get their messages across.

Then, on the other side of Kieran's songwriting coin, we find the powerful, world-weary rueful remembrances of October Moon and New Year's Day and the tender entreaties of Year After Year.

Yes, sometimes it can feel like it's always Closing Time In Paradise, and there are still occasions where a series of thoughts and ideas is left hanging in the ether after two verses and you feel might usefully be developed more, but invariably Kieran's songs still make you think and leave you thinking, which is never a bad thing.

Long may Kieran keep coming up with provocative new songs to make you think again and over again. Having recently returned from a year's sabbatical, Kieran has shown with some storming live gigs that he's lost none of his touch, his bite, his winning way with an audience or his powerful presence; or, on the evidence of this CD of almost all brand new material, his gift for creating memorable and passionate songs.

The anger and desperation of Still Bleeding Wound also hits hard, as does the regretful The Road Ahead, another very relevant song tackling Kieran's familiar preoccupation with examining the clash between past and future in the light of present feelings and experiences.

Road Train Driver is another typically thoughtful slice of Halpin life-philosophy, set to a catchy melody and driving beat, while Bankers is a right-on vituperative piece with a particularly catchy chorus.

Kieran's backing musicians on this latest disc comprise his regular collaborators Maart Allcock and Yogi Jockusch along with guitarist Jimmy Smith and jazz keyboardist Dave Milligan; this is an ideal ensemble, other than that on the first three songs the title track especially Dave's glitzy Wurlitzer tones sound too jazzy-lounge in style for the material, diluting its impact I feel.

While one or two of the songs will undeniably come across more intensely and make a more immediate impact in Kieran's visceral live voice-and-guitar setting, the quite lengthy travelogue Found Australia, which palls a little in live performance, seems to work better on record with its playful country-mode geetar frolics.

Finally, after the nine new songs, the CD concludes with a reworking of Kieran's anthemic classic Glory Dayz, which gains extra poignance with its additional verse written in direct personal tribute to the brilliant guitarist Chris Jones, with whom Kieran worked closely for over ten years and who sadly died in shortly after recording for Kieran's CD A Box Of Words And Tunes.

The first of two new releases from Kieran this year is a live album recorded at various British venues in November of last year during his tour with guitarist Chris Jones.

Kieran and Chris had released an earlier live duo album back in Glory Dayz , which was notable for its winning combination of exceptionally strong songs and playing that was vivid and fiery yet very subtle.

Moving Air takes the two's working relationship a stage further in accomplishment, with some mightily beautiful intricacies of texture and harmonics woven in among the power chords - a combination that suits Kieran's songs down to the ground.

The album's title proves extremely accurate - play it loud and you can feel the air move, it positively shimmers in the heat haze of the cascading, rippling strings, and the recording perfectly conveys the intensity of the live experience.

The music is gutsy, honest and uncompromising, with Kieran's distinctive, gravelly vocal as compelling as ever; it's ostensibly quite abrasive, but Kieran's always proved himself capable of finer vocal shadings too, as on the achingly beautiful Angel Of Paradise and when he effectively revisits an earlier song like No Turning Back here given a thoughtful new slant.

On the most recent song here Good Reason , Chris shares vocal duties, though while proving himself adequate to the task his quiet tones form almost too much of a contrast with Kieran's own matchless, forceful delivery.

The majority of the songs on this new album don't duplicate Kieran's earlier live releases, and they range over a wide timescale, emphasising the sheer consistency of his world-vision over his long career.

Even on those songs which have appeared before on his live albums, Kieran always manages to find something new to say, while his most recent writing shows him still developing his themes and concerns in a credibly contemporary fashion.

And I've already enthused about the wonderfully complementary guitar work of Kieran and Chris, whose contrasting styles that coexist admirably yet also spark each other to fine new expressive heights.

Neil Halstead - Sleeping On Roads 4AD Gestating over two years, the solo debut from the lead singer of Mojave 3 isn't exactly any radical musical departure from the day job.

Which means more Nick Drake infused delicately miserable country-folk, pretty tunes and hushed lazy vocals. Their bare acoustic guitar bones fleshed out with banjo, cello, trumpet and keyboards, it's all very pleasant stuff, the Leone touches to Driving With Bert especially attractive with the gently rolling leafy mood of Two Stones In My Pocket, the slowly swelling guitar-borne dream of flying free that's See You On Rooftops and six minute reverie Dreamed I Saw Soldiers the most obvious highlights.

But with no obvious personal agenda to the songs themselves and no sense of exploring musical directions frustrated by the band confines, it doesn't really seem to have any reason for its existence other than proving he could do it.

You are excused and we'll see you later OK, now they've gone and we can get down to Ed Hamell's latest collection of acoustic-powered, folk-punk genius.

It's wild, funny as hell with lyrics that slice like a knife at a crime scene. What you get is a guy with big opinions, stories from which to make film scripts and a lot of acoustic strumming over inspired percussion.

Some of his stories are true Downs , his recovery from a near-death car accident with the aid of a pharmacy of morphine and derivatives , or he's the voice of an angry God Don't Kill , 'what part of Thou Shalt Not Kill don't you understand?

Surreal at times and poking fun or the finger at a multitude of targets, there's a hilarious bizarre internet romance First Date , a small tale of blackmail and a gang rap Dear Peter, When Destiny Calls , with guns accenting various verses - not literally - and Hamell firing words of warning There Is A God , and - maybe literally - hitting dustbin lids Tough Love!

No sweet harmonising, she does a fine job in edgily keeping up with the Hamell whirlwind. He's supported her on tour and she's extended her support for him by signing him to her Righteous Babe label.

Tough Love is a Triumph. No 'singing between the lines', Hamell comes at you with a punch and this one is his best right hook. Straight into my pile of Best Albums of the Year.

Hamell is a showman who shocks. He's a wild weapon of communication - an urban folk-punkster, a thrash-rocker who fires songs at you which are not exactly hot on forgiveness and compassion.

He strums like a man possessed, he's outrageously funny and utterly compelling. Choochtown feels very ' live ' though some tracks are supplemented by drums, bass, electric guitar, trumpet and samples.

Let's face it, this isn't sensitive stuff, so if you in the mood for something pretty and singer-songwritery, this one isn't for you. On the other hand, if you like your songs honest, bad and bloody - and you think Bob Dylan, Lou Reed or Loudon Wainwright are a little tame these days, Hamell's your guy.

This man is brilliant and he's at The Borderline again on November 2nd. Finally, a joke from Hamell's on-stage, mostly unrepeatable banter, " What has four legs and an arm?

As Rebecca Hollweg's other half, he also played on and produced her album June Babies. Now he's finally made his own and, not surprisingly, several friends dropped by to return the favour.

It takes a few listens, but it sneaks into the bloodstream. And it goes without saying double bass aficionados should purchase forthwith.

The quite-newly-launched Cherry Red subsidiary label Esoteric is currently doing a splendid job of reissuing all the albums of celebrated songwriter Josephine Claire Hamill, who was also quite recently hailed by Record Collector mag as "the finest vocalist you've never heard" yes, I do like the presumptive eloquence of that description!

As a taster, though, comes The Minor Fall, The Major Lift, a handsome two-disc retrospective compilation covering virtually the whole of Claire's career to date to and spanning the records she made for Island, Konk, Beggar's Banquet, Coda and finally her own label.

If I'm totally honest, I don't entirely connect with some of the prog and then New Age modes with which Claire became engaged from the late 70s through to the late 80s, a blandness too far on occasion for me perhaps, but the sample tracks from the albums made during that period encapsulate what she was doing pretty well.

In all, it's actually a very sensibly programmed compilation, and certainly whets the appetite for the forthcoming projected complete reissues of all the individual albums over the next year or so and prompts a re-evaluation on my part.

And even Claire's staunchest fans will probably not own all of those albums! So to those issued thus far One House Left Standing was the product of the ingenuous Claire's signing with Island at age 16, and ambitiously showcased her nascent songwriting and her enviably pure and uncannily cultured singing voice on an unexpectedly wide-ranging set of songs, mainly penned by Claire herself some with her then-boyfriend Mike Coles.

The record started out stylishly, with the kittenish Dixieland swing of Baseball Blues whoa, what an opener! It's a persuasive set that wears very well indeed, and its ten tracks are topped up with two bonus cuts, the lengthy and intense single B-side Alice In The Streets Of Darlington and a cutglass cover of Lindisfarne's Meet Me On The Corner featuring Gerry Rafferty and Stealer's Wheel as backing musicians.

A more pronounced Joni Mitchell influence also seemed to be present, especially in the melodic contours of songs like To The Stars. There are some sensitive string arrangements too courtesy of Nick Harrison , and the final track Peaceful was even recorded alfresco in the cold in the middle of the night!

The odd-track-out is a quite strident cover of Jimmy Reed's Baby What's Wrong With You which, well done though it is, breaks the flow of the album's original second side somewhat.

Sadly, there are no bonus tracks with this reissue - but, as with One House The third of the reissued albums, Voices, propels us forward 12 years to , by which time much water had flown under Claire's musical bridge.

At that time, Claire was settled and married, and had just supported Rick Wakeman on a national tour. At the instigation of her husband Nick, Claire dipped her tentative toes into the then-nascent New Age genre, recording a whole album based around the concept of a vocal interpretation of the changing seasons.

Using then-pioneering layering techniques to create a thick, ethereal soundscape from her own extraordinary vocal performances, Voices proved a startlingly original record which genuinely broadened musical horizons, astounding listeners and defying preconceptions of what might "sell".

Heard now, it seems a verys artefact, rather akin to Kate Bush without the outlandish eccentricities I thought, and definitely a precursor of what's now regarded as the Enya sound especially in its wash of swooning, shifting vocal colours - but it doesn't sound dated in the way that much 80s music does, and it contains some inspiring and uplifting composition.

From the vantage point of two decades on, it's easy to underestimate how inventive and original this music was back in the mids, and this repackage allows us to reassess its magic in all its aural splendour.

The fourth album to be reissued in this series, Love In The Afternoon, dates from , a time when Claire was on a creative roll after the massive success of the Voices album.

It's a collection of songs without an overall concept, and although it doesn't suffer from disunity in that sense and there are some fine songs among its nine tracks it still doesn't quite satisfy as an entirety.

Trees, Japanese Lullaby and to some extent Glastonbury and the title track are to some extent all style-defining within Claire's later output, but the album's standout is probably Beauty Of England which is drawn from an aborted concept album Domesday, about the Battle Of Hastings.

Love In The Afternoon shares with many albums of its time a distinctly 80s synth-dominated backing, which now makes it sound quite dated more so than Voices , and this dilutes the impact of Claire's writing somewhat for me.

It would be interesting to hear some of these songs with a less elaborate textural backdrop. Best known for a string of albums on Island Records in the early seventies, Middlesborough vocalist Claire Hamill has never stuck rigidly to one formula, reinventing herself along the way as New-Age songstress, occasional rock-chick singer with Wishbone Ash and conceiving the remarkable 'Voices' album, which featured multi-layered arrangements of Claire's erm, voice!

Released in , her most recent studio album sees Claire return to the comparative comfort zone of singer-songwriter mode, yet several of the songs in this collection stand comfortably alongside the best of her earlier work; the jazz-tinged 'Beautiful Moon' featuring the moody trumpet of Duncan Mackay, a song which would not sound out of place on a record by Madeleine Peyroux or Diana Krall and the bright 'In the Leaves of the Park', as crisp and clear as a brisk Autumn walk.

Claire obviously has a keen ear for a cover and her little-girl-lost vocals are perfectly suited to 'Blue' from the pen of McAlmont and Butler.

We also get another chance to hear the beautiful 'You Take My Breath Away', re-recorded due to the renewed interest in her work largely thanks to the surprise discovery of a recorded version of Claire's song by the late Eva Cassidy.

There is an air of melancholy throughout much of this album, even on the uptempo 'Mr Wonderful', but it is an emotion that Claire handles better than most.

On the closing track, 'Singer', she proclaims "where did you go, I used to buy your records many years ago. She's been likened to Bush, Harvey and Lennox as well as Regina Spektor and Imogen Heap, and while you'll hear the comparisons, she's still very much her own voice.

The album is an exotic musical journey, brushing the multicultural world wings of dreamy celestial pop tinged with Gaelic mist Exist , cobwebby jazz soul folk The Bush infused Pick Me Up , airy Brill building balladry There It Is , the panoramic rhythms of African plains How Beautiful , and the melting icicle soulful ebb and flow fragility of Deeper Glorious.

Then there's the Weill cabaret shades to All In Adoration with its puttering percussion beats and woodwind trills, the classical hymnal majesty of Liathach's choral beauty and, drawing on her time in Cambodia, the intoxicatingly hushed seductiveness that is Mekong Song.

She's releasing Winter Is Over a a trailer single, a playfully catchy pizzicato plucked strings waltzer that suggests a sort of Oriental Bjork by way of an arthouse 40s Broadway musical.

But it's the closing Think Of Me that's the real deceptive killer, a windchime, musical box Gaelic lullaby that floats you away on a pillow of clouds and twinkling night stars.

Sophisticated, sensuous, complex, layered and utterly beguiling, there's a song here called Paradise.

A better description of the album would be hard to conjure. Well there's certainly plenty evidence of a rock edge and drive here, but his roots are certainly showing, too.

Just seven songs of high quality combine a Guy Clark-like fondness for characters and story-telling with a very twenty-first century musical approach.

Three tracks of random radio stuff "reception 1", etc don't make too much sense to me; I guess it's an attempt to make the songs seem like random unknown voices from the ether too.

Nonetheless, bags of atmosphere are conjured from some pretty sparse ingredients; Nathan's warm, slightly fractured vocal on Cinders is sung right up against the mike and supported by an arrangement of great delicacy shot through with steel - reminiscent, I suppose, of one of Lou Reed's painfully intimate songs.

If Cinders was on your mp3 and popped up out of the blue I think you'd have to stop what you were doing to drink it all in. Weary World, on the other hand, demonstrates an ability to make an apparently simple, straightforward tune and lyric carry an awful lot of emotional weight, not an easy trick to pull off whilst Change could have come from Nels Andrews' songbook; it has a similar weighty, considered style to the acoustic guitar sound, an echo-laden pedal steel for the atmosphere and an acute sensitivity for the disappointments experienced in real lives - a long way from the vacuous optimism of pop music.

Receive, in contrast, gets the electric guitar brought out and a pretty fuzzy, heavy sound backed by a thumping drum; Nathan's vocals have the edge required for a very good rock voice and the warmth that draws you in for the quieter, folkier songs.

It's a slow-burner, this one, and it'd be well worthy buying or downloading what you can and familiarise yourself with Nathan Hamilton's style before you check him out live; there's hidden treasures here and I think the man could be a real find.

It's a bit over two years since Peter's last solo studio recording Incoherence , but he's been busy over that time, not just with the VdGG reunion tour and remasters but also in supervising the remastered reissues of his 70s Charisma solo albums.

All despite having suffered a heart attack, an experience which no doubt played a part in triggering this new set of songs on which Peter reflects on mortality and on considerations of history both personal and public.

With admirable, if typically cryptic succinctness, Peter admits that "the main theme here is the long dive down into not being what we were", and in confronting this situation I think he's produced a very fine set indeed, one that ranks with those Charisma albums in actual songwriting power yet doesn't possess anything like the impenetrability or degree of turn-off idiosyncrasy that many music-lovers had often found such a barrier to appreciating his earlier output.

That doesn't mean to say that Peter's abandoned the experimental elements in his music - indeed, the urge to forge new and intriguing sonic landscapes is as strong as ever eg the fragmented voice and treated-piano textures of White Dot ; and Singularity is once more a totally solo effort, all instruments and voices you hear belonging to Peter himself.

Lyric-wise, the Hammill hallmarks of literate and expressive heart-baring are there in abundance, yet imbued with a new maturity in their freshness of execution.

What was once a distinctly inward-looking narcissism is replaced by a worldly realism, often quite self-critical and definitely not devoid of humour.

Peter's metaphors are still intelligently conceived, but they're inclusive not opaque, and the music expresses a fragile tenderness amid the sometimes still painful recollection and assessment of a personal situation.

Peter uses the key word "singularity" in both senses: At its most intense as on Event Horizon , Peter's writing exhibits an expressive beauty that's both accessible and immensely compelling.

Now if in the past you were put off more by Peter's intensity, by way of his histrionic vocal delivery, than the actual admittedly often impenetrable content of his songs, then I firmly believe that Singularity may be the album to now give you the optimum chance to re-evaluate his music - for although it's still recognisably Hammill, the actual expression of the drama and thought-content within the songs is toned down naturally not in any way dumbed down, I hasten to add and, allied to some genuinely interesting musical content, makes for a most rewarding listening experience and hey, Naked To The Flame even contains a snatch of tune we can whistle along with Peter!

But that doesn't for a moment mean that Peter's compromised his ideals or his talent. Singularity is a grand achievement by any standards, flying defiantly in the face of those who'd argue that anyone who's been writing and recording for 40 years is bound to have nothing new to say.

Following in quick succession barely a month after the previous batch, here's the second tranche of Peter Hammill remastered reissues, covering his four solo releases which originally came out between March and October The album does, however, at least seem to audibly begin where Nadir's Big Chance left off, in the sense of throwing at us the proto-punk riff-heavy vibe of Crying Wolf.

Over comes with three bonus tracks: Coming complete with some striking cover photos like the front shot which I always thought made PH look like Kenny Everett!

Although there's often a distinct sense of trial-and-error about much of the album, it's amazing how it hangs together and although it's not my favourite Hammill album by any means, it nevertheless retains an aggressively confident quality right through.

The two bonus tracks, spare versions of album tracks If I Could and The Mousetrap taken from the Kansas City tape, exude an intense self-containment.

The followup, pH7 which turned out to be Peter's final album for Charisma , appeared just over a year later, in October ; Peter regarded it as a twin to Future, and certainly it contained a rather similar mix of experimentation and social commentary.

Its at once punning and misleading title it was PH's eighth album not his seventh! It began, however, with two for PH less characteristic tracks: My Favourite, a fairly lightweight pop-love-song with slightly laboured imagery redeemed by a charming string arrangement, and then the declamatory new-wave stance of Careering.

Thankfully there's stronger material to come: Not For Keith is a brief but affecting tribute to VDGG's first bass player Keith Ellis; Handicap And Equality harks back to the social-commentary folk-troubadour approach, whereas The Old School Tie is an even more obvious attack on politicians and the dawn of spin, imbued with all due venom and bile.

Imperial Walls, a setting of 8th century Saxon words found displayed at the Roman baths at Bath, has a scratchy grandeur all its own.

Compositionally, the album's odd-man-out is an old song of Chris Judge Smith's Time For A Change , but it's a tribute to Peter that it suffers not from the comparison with his own songs.

A Black Box, released in the late summer of , was a go-it-alone independent-label effort, self-released on S-type Records almost as a gesture of frustration at the albeit inevitable situation of being dropped from Charisma due partly to the ever-familiar story that although Peter's albums were critically esteemed, his music wasn't deemed commercially viable.

Like most of Peter's music, it can at times be tough going but it invariably rewards the patient listener.

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Thanks to Jason for bringing this to my attention. The Daily Show Get More: According to the article, "More than a dozen alleged fixers could be playing in England, according to law enforcement and football integrity sources.

No league is safe. Amazingly, the broadcast outright stated this during their end credits see photo below. It's just another example of the show-biz world staging events to make them more entertaining.

Why don't people believe sports - clearly a show-biz entity - wouldn't do the same? If the latter was fixed, why wouldn't the former? Here's an interesting but not in depth enough story on an admitted spot-fixer in international hockey.

And in other news, here's the results of a recent ESPN poll. My first response upon seeing this was: Then I suddenly wanted to move to Oklahoma.

Details are sketchy at this point, and Vanek is not the focal point of the investigation nor charged with any crime, but it's never a good sign to see a professional athlete tied to a gambling ring.

He hits the nail on the head when discussing the NCAA's inability to police, investigate, and punish colleges violating every sort of rule on the book.

Of course, why should it do so when everyone's making money hand over fist and most fans could care less of said "infractions? Hope the lawsuits and possible unionization of athletes all go against the NCAA.

Yeah, I know, who thought they did, especially after the Frontline fiasco which was recently nominated for an Emmy?

But after what I just experienced, I can reaffirm that ESPN cares more about its money well, Disney's cash and their relationship with the sports leagues than actual reporting.

NEVER trust one of their reports again, no matter the supposed subject matter. This should come as no surprise with the number of players "playing through pain.

You'd think with all the access the network has with the league, it'd would be the one breaking these sorts of stories. Instead, we get Johnny Manziel at the Red Sox game.

You really trust this network with its "news? If Cleveland fans don't resoundingly boo him upon game one back in a Cavs uniform, you know how duped they all are Of course, Ghana's in the World Cup and America beat them in their first match despite being outplayed by Ghana at every turn.

Any chance our deep-pockets could've purchased a win? I think the US Team keeps more than that in their duffle bag.

It just goes to show that this problem is out of control around the world, yet America continues to wear blinders. Here's two recent representations: The second is from The Classic in a piece about betting on soccer.

Speaking of which, did you catch the first game of the World Cup played between Croatia and Brazil? Total rig job, right?

I warned people about this in my latest Sports on Earth piece. FIFA is looking to outright give Brazil the trophy, and this game was the first step.

Luckily, FIFA is running commercials warning against the very practice we saw in play:. You can read all the dirty details here - and thanks to whomever leaked this document to the Minneapolis Star Tribune - but be warned: If the league goes this far and wants this much from just hosting the game, why does everyone assume that they do not do the same thing when it comes to the most important aspect of that day -- the game itself?

Thanks to Ethan for the heads up on this story. He asks a lot of great questions, gets a few answers, and really makes the NBA's officiating program look questionable - especially it's ties to network television.

It's a must read, and includes the recent revelation of Mark Cuban 's hiring or not Some call the huge disparities in free throw attempts seen in some NBA playoff games as "conspiracy theories" and that there's ration explanations for them.

Sure, same as there was for " home field advantage " - it's the referees that cause it, but never because of bias, intention, or direction from above.

How true was this? AdamSchefter tells the show he thinks some NFL people will call teams to encourage them to draft Michael Sam in the later rounds.

Recently, the league has admitted to certain outcome-changing referee decisions that have been incorrect. Of course, like the NFL, these admissions amount to nothing as the NBA then doesn't go back and give the win to the team that was jobbed by their officials.

So I guess on one level, this is "transparency," but on another, it's just more bunk. Does it frighten you as much as it does me?

He also wrote about why he made this decision, writing in part, "I've always been a professional. But I am not an entertainer.

I never have been. Playing that role was never easy for me. What's worse is that not only do people realize this, but former and current members of the NBA are openly talking about it.

So go spend that hard earned money on NBA basketball, fans. You'll certainly get what you paid for The final one, dating back 4 month prior to the Super Bowl, is interesting.

Why was he worried about his teammate being mic'd up? Worse still were those dealers selling supposed "authentic game-worn or used" memorabilia.

I assumed most of it was fake. I might not be that wrong in that assessment as this NY Post story discusses a lawsuit which accuses Eli Manning and the NY Giants of doing exactly that - selling fake game-used goods.

This has been pre-determined since May like all the other Super Bowls. But it's interesting nonetheless Thanks to Matt for the tip! Click here to view the original thread and responses.

As a result, the video has been blocked on YouTube. Let's see what happens next It does raise some good questions.

Take a moment and watch Yes, I wrote "Part III" because many forget that current Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was busted back when he was the Broncos head coach for doing exactly when his mentor Bill Belichick was caught doing - video taping opponents' coaching signals.

Now, a member of the Houston Texans believes that the Patriots are at it once again. I've heard rumblings from others in the New England area that despite the scandal associated with Spygate, it actually never ceased.

Will the NFL "investigate" this matter? What do you think? Sports can be fixed in the United States. Well, horse racing is still wide open for corruption as four people were arrested in relation to an alleged fixing scandal.

And shockingly, ESPN's backing this one It was making an excellent point as it kicked the NFL in the ribs while it tries to recover from the concussion controversy stirred up by PBS.

Then came the line, "[the NFL is] impossible to do without. The guy can't even hold a salient point through an article. He becomes his own punchline as the blame for the NFL getting away with this B.

First, this is a highly interesting article coming out of Canada's The Globe and Mail. Seems as though the Toronto Raptors wouldn't mind tanking the entire NBA season to get a shot at home-grown talent Andrew Wiggins currently playing at Kansas.

The highlight of this article is the following: Don Van Natta Jr. Van Natta's article here is basically the Cliff Notes version of the book.

And after reading his piece, if you still don't think the NFL would stoop to fixing a game, then I can be no further help to you.

Based on my new book Larceny Games , Gary Buiso interviewed me and cited the book and the FBI files within it in his article about members of the New York Knicks shaving points as a "favor" to their cocaine dealer.

CNN called my house Could it be the one that spends the most money broadcasting NBA games? Why, yes, the answer is:.

You can't even boo in America anymore with The Man coming down on you. It was meant to be. And that's why American soccer player Clint Dempsey may have intentionally missed the goal on a free kick you could've seen his attempt at the link, but YouTube's already pulled it.

But it's all fun and games as no one had bet on this game, right? And no one would've dared wager on a final score, would they?

Despite the fact that it's proven that soccer fixers often fix games for exact final scores - and make them happen.

But this is the key quote from Ray, "I'm not gonna accuse nobody of nothing — because I don't know facts," says Lewis.

Now listen, if you grew up like I grew up — and you grew up in a household like I grew up — then sometimes your lights might go out, because times get hard.

But you cannot tell me somebody wasn't sitting there and when they say, 'The Ravens are about to blow them out.

Man, we better do something. That's a huge shift in any game, in all seriousness. And as you see how huge it was because it let them right back in the game.

They should also be strong, stand together and make a public statement about their dissatisfaction about it instead of hiding behind anonymous quotes.

Could they lose their jobs by doing that? Perhaps though after this I don't think ESPN would want to be seen as even more against their own investigative reporters.

But if they did lose their jobs, so what? Is that an entity they really want to work for? One that forces them not only to pull out of something like this PBS project, but also causes them to self-censor?

Myself, I'd prefer my integrity over a paycheck. Nearly 40 years later, people still cannot agree about whether an exhibition tennis match was rigged.

So why do it? For the money, no doubt. This begs the question: The argument has always been, "You might be able to pay off a player who is clearly not NFL or NBA bound, but you couldn't get a certain first round draft pick to throw a game.

All money is green, and while signing autographs isn't fixing a game, both might cost a player his eligibility, his "free ride," and several slots in the draft.

Thanks to Yehuda for the tip. Peterson wants everyone to know he didn't use drugs like HGH to make such a stunning comeback At least that's what one former Lebanese referee stated at his recent trial.

He traded games for sex - not money, not because of a blackmail situation - just sex. That's all it takes.

Thanks to Ethan on the tip. The Sports Geeks took this one step further and put together an interactive graph of arrests in the NFL. It's worth checking out.

Thanks to Robert for the heads up. On the surface, no. But if you know that professional poker players are often fronts for professional sports gamblers, then perhaps Pierce shouldn't be causally sitting there getting a massage.

By the way, he did bust out of the tournament not long after this picture was taken. If so, then someone needs to explain that to now former Boston Bruins center Tyler Seguin as the team needed to hire a guard to keep him in his hotel room so he wasn't out partying every night.

If these reports are correct, this is the first ever dismissal of its kind in baseball. Also, this was reportedly not Runge's first failed test.

As if anyone in either league really needs affordable healthcare And most importantly, writer Patrick Hruby is bold enough to ask: That's all there is to it.

I thought it was an entertaining fight and the fans got their money's worth, but it's a lot of bulls There's politics, and you get bulls like this.

It's part of the game, and somebody should do something about it. I don't have to fight again. I made good money in boxing and I work with you guys at Showtime.

I'm not saying it was fixed, but it's always the more connected fighter who gets the decision. And he has a point: Boxing, of course, has had corruption at its heart for more than years.

Malignaggi may not be right in this case, but certainly boxing matches have been fixed - recently and repeatedly. On US soil, former Auburn Tigers point guard Varez Ward was arrested on allegations of point shaving and game fixing during the season.

He was also fined 18, English pounds for the offense, although exactly what misconduct caused the ban has not yet been detailed. Thanks to John for the heads up on this.

Very subjective if one is an athlete apparently. In which game s did this take place? Was an investigation launched?

Sadly, none of these follow-up questions seemed to be asked or answered, but these responses are a tad frightening. Though the University of San Diego fixing story received some press, it was not nearly the national sports news it should have been.

Because you make a fact like this known, as college basketball might get even dirtier than it already is. We had to be the fight on the hockey arena, we had to be the walk-off home run in the seventh game of the World Series, we had to be the yard kickoff return on the gridiron.

We had to do that to get those sports fans to come in and be a part of us. First, this article details how the refs not just gave the Lakers the wins they needed to reach the post-season, they also snatched games away from the Jazz.

Interestingly, this article comes from a Trailblazers -related site so it's not really "homerism" at work. One of the comments after the article provides even more insight on this debate - and none of it paints the NBA or its refs in a good light.

Thanks to Ethan for the tip. Adding on to this idea is the following video which depicts one of the worst screw-jobs in recent history, of course favoring the Lakers.

What I really enjoyed in this video is the host's "Coach Nick" assertion that in the past, "we all knew and understood" that the NBA was forcing Knicks-Bulls playoff series to 6 or 7 games.

This is common knowledge that the NBA was rigging games through its referees to make their wish of a 7-game playoff series a reality?

And if so, why wouldn't the league then be doing the same today with the Lakers? Coach Nick needs to think things through a bit more if you ask me Will the league allow the Jazz to make the playoffs as the 8th seed in the Western Conference, or will the Lakers rise to the occasion?

This video might give you a clue That's the allegation against Rush by the PAC according to this article. Well, one a former Turkish referee was told the same thing regarding the recent UEFA Champions League draw for match-ups, he went on live TV and proved it could be done.

Was it a simple slight of hand magic trick? If he could do it, who is to say the league can't do the very same thing for their own reasons?

And thanks to Rodney for sending me the tip! Their piece based in part on an ESPN Outside the Lines piece basically lays out the proof Goodell had the story squashed since it never did air.

Player safety is pure PR, nothing more. Thanks to Ethan for the heads up on this! It shows how poorly ownership can treat its fans, and this case against the Padres' owners could be made to several other franchise owners as well.

The Sad Truth by. I mean, don't we all know that these exploited kids are being paid under the table to sign that letter of intent?

Once again proving that nothing in the sports world is as it appears. The NFL thought you might, so it attacked and defeated an enterprising man who attempted to trademark "Harbowl," even though I don't believe the NFL can lay claim to either the word "har" or "bowl.

It's their name, or does the NFL own that as well? But here's the real kicker--the NFL didn't force this action now, with the Harbaugh Brothers about to face each other in the Super Bowl.

No, the NFL did this in August , prior to the start of this season. What, did the league just have a gut feeling about who was going to play in this year's championship?

In case you missed it, the NHL is back in action! And players are already fighting! I love how the author of that article has no problem writing that the fights are staged in one instance, the gloves were off within 3 seconds of the first puck drop , but he doesn't go a step further and ask the implications of such play acting.

Notice, by the way, the ESPN anchors just chuckling over these calls, rather than showing any sort of indignation like they did regarding the NFL's replacement refs.

Mitchell did, in fact, get injured on the play in question. This revelation has left Mitchell flabbergasted, but should any of us really believe more shenanigans like this don't occur in all sports?

Remember when Brett Favre intentionally took a sack so Michael Strahan could set the single season sack record? Think players don't work out pre-game arrangements similar to Favre's with Strahan so someone can reach a contract incentive or look good for his family, etc.?

I've heard all sort of stories similar to this. But Brown's admission is a bit of a first. It should prove to fans that not all you see and believe in a game is as you assume it to be.

There are all sorts of debates as to the odds of this occurring , but it has more than a few fans wondering if something else read: Imagine a "rehearsal draw" for the NBA Draft Lottery ending the same as the actual drawing, and you get a sense as to what this seems like for European soccer fans.

To what ends this would be set up remains to be seen as certain first round games such as Real Madrid vs.

Manchester United would seeming be better served in the later rounds. Losing late in their game against the Jets, Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Ray Horton ordered their defense to allow the Jets to score a touchdown which would've made the Jets cover the Dockett refused the order , and got into a heated on-the-field argument with teammate Kerry Rhodes.

In the end, the whole episode was rendered moot when Jets RB Shonn Greene downed the ball short of the endzone for the Jets win. To which Dockett stated:.

It was frustrating at the time. At the end of the day, I am never, never going to lay down and quit. I've been playing football for over 20 years.

I've given this organization, I've given Florida State, I've given my high school everything I've got. I love the game.

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