Reynard, the afternoon barkeep here at the Green Man Pub, speaking. It won't surprise you to know that music discussions here can be rather interesting to listen in on. The ale here, particularly the Dragons Breath XXX Stout and the Ryhope Wood Hard Cider, both of which are brewed on the premises by Bjorn, our Brewmaster par excellence, has been known to encourage even the most quiet of staffers to freely express their opinions! Now have a listen while I make another Irish coffee for Jack who's having a conversation with John Benninghouse about their experiences at seeing Jethro Tull live...

Just take what happened when Jack asked SPike what he thought of a certain group: 'The Stones? The #$%^in' Stones? Wot do I think of the Stones? 'Aven't you read my comments on the Stones, famously printed for all to see on the wall of a garage near Croydon? The Stones were the first great punk band but then it all went to their preening self-adorin' lead singer's head, and they spent the next couple of generations turnin' into a mere shadow of their former selves. Sure, once in a while they stumble upon a memorable riff, and always, yas always Mister Charles Watts is #$%^in' top of the #$%^in' heap wif rhythm keepin'. An' King of the electric guitar Keef is all right...an' Ronnie is...well, lemme tellya...I saw Ronnie wif the Faces one night an' I'm still laffin' from the good time it wuz...but the Stones...as long as I have Dave's pristine copy of the first album to listen to that's about all the Stones I need.' Now I won't disagree altogether with SPike as I think their first decade as a band is all one needs to hear!

Then there was Vonnie who once held forth on what her ideal Boiled in Lead gig would be like: 'Out in a field somewhere, beside a lake. Weekend campout. BiL plays between sets by the Oyster Band, Alux Nahual, Robin and Linda Thompson, Richard Thompson, Rare Air, June Tabor, Stan Rogers -- so what if he's dead? I'm dreaming, here -- Heartbeat Rhythm Quartet, Iain MacIntosh, and Steve Tilston and Maggie Boyle. In between dancing to the music, I retire to the very clean, although communal hot tub. While there, the man of my dreams -- and maybe a few of the women, also -- feed me sushi. Oh, and while I'm dreaming -- no ticks, infectious diseases, and clean, gently-lit bathrooms that never run out of toilet paper. Hah! Top that!'

And I nearly fell down laughing the time that Will Shetterly was asked by our Editor who was performing on the War for the Oaks trailer: 'Oh, man. Let's see. The two big songs at the beginning and end of the video are by Cats Laughing, but only 'Here We Go Again' is from the book; we just liked 'Nottamun Town', so we used it. Can't now remember who did the opening instrumental; I think it's the Flash Girls' John Sjogren who sings a piece of a trad tune to the sleeping Eddi, the name of which I really should remember, and which Emma would remember for me if she wasn't in Minnesota. Marz & Menton are the duo in the party scene.'

Larry Kirwan of Black 47 fame dropped by the Pub recently to tell us his best music picks for the past year: 'The Poet and the Piper by Seamus Heaney and Liam Og O'Flynn just blows me away. Tinariwen from Mali -- Anassakoul -- is wonderful. Birth of the Cool by Miles Davis sounds, well, cool. Eggman on the Deuce by Chill Faction breaks my heart. Then again, I was a member of that quintet back in the mid 80s. Our guitarist, Mike Fazio, remastered our old tapes and we sound as whatever as we did back in those speedy, alcoholic daze days.'

We decided to do all CD reviews this outing, and SPike's here to do the honours! I'll be off in the Snug on break having a pie and a decent pint if you have any questions...