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Great texts

  • John V. Taylor: The Christlike God (Scm Classics)

    John V. Taylor: The Christlike God (Scm Classics)
    A serious theological book which is the companion to JVT's classic work "The Go-between God". Anyone who is frustrated by (fellow) Christians that choose to define God so tightly that faith seems impossible, or seem to align faith with "happiness" despite the evidence to the contrary should read how faith is really a mix of " wonder and comprehension, illumination and darkness, loss and possession, abasement and bliss". If you want to stop to "think" about God then this is a book to read thoughtfully in the company of one of great Christians of the 20th Century

  • Jean Vanier: Community and Growth: Our Pilgrimage Together Revised Edition

    Jean Vanier: Community and Growth: Our Pilgrimage Together Revised Edition
    A revised collection of the thoughts and ideas of the founder of the L'arche Community - "faith without boundaries". This is a classic book - for everyone seeking faith and to grow in their faith

  • Rowan  Williams: Anglican Identities

    Rowan Williams: Anglican Identities
    As someone who is both a passionate but frustrated Anglican - glimpsing sometimes all that Anglican could be and seeing on a daily basis all that it isn't, this book was a wonderful account of what liberal Anglicanism - tolerant, inclusive, supportive, intelligent and profoundly spiritual, just might be. Of course it is not an easy read - it takes time and effort to grasp what RW is saying but the effort is worthwhile

  • John Drane         : Do Christians Know How to Be Spiritual?

    John Drane : Do Christians Know How to Be Spiritual?
    If you are a committed member of a local Church and wonder why others do not see the point - or wonder whether it might be possible to be more spiritual outside the confines then you could read this book which is a thoughtful introduction to what is meant by a post-christian society.

  • Tom Wright: Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

    Tom Wright: Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
    This is a detailed read from Tom Wright which makes the case for the Christian faith in contemporary society. Its thoughtful, challenging, and gentle.

  • W.H. Vanstone: Farewell in Christ

    W.H. Vanstone: Farewell in Christ
    Vanstone's final work, which explores the mystery of existence, the mystery of my soul, the mystery of meaning, - and none of this becomes possible without intellectual doubt. Is this what Dawkins et al will never understand?

  • John Pritchard: The Life and Work of a Priest

    John Pritchard: The Life and Work of a Priest
    This book should be compulsory reading for all enquirers, ordinands, and current clergy - perhaps adding in all elders and churchwardens for good measure. It charts in a profoundly hopeful way the joys and pressures of contemporary priesthood, and avoids the pitfalls of theological bias or the bland functional understandings of leadership.

  • Timothy Radcliffe: What Is the Point of Being a Christian?

    Timothy Radcliffe: What Is the Point of Being a Christian?
    A prophetic introduction to the Christian faith for those who struggle to find God amid the complexities of life

  • Robert Dimery: 1001 Albums you must hear before you die

    Robert Dimery: 1001 Albums you must hear before you die
    Just a great read - extensive intelligent reviews which bring back memories, stimulate to seek out, and inspire to add to the wish list.

All time Top Ten albums

  • Bob Dylan -

    Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
    Probably the best single collection of orginal songs - performed by Bob with his inimitable non-music style - the best produced Dylan album into the bargain

  • Miles Davis -

    Miles Davis: Kind of Blue
    I remember the first time I heard this - on a loaned Walkman on a very turbulent flight to Belfast - it has rightly been described as a milestone in 20th century jazz. I remember playing to a group of spell-bound 9/10 year olds in a Primary school music workshop

  • Portishead -

    Portishead: Dummy
    Every once in while I listen to an album whose orginality leaves me instinctively knowing that music will never be the same - that the goalposts of repetoire have been changed for ever. Dummy is just one of those rare treats

  • Prefab Sprout -

    Prefab Sprout: Andromeda Heights
    In 1997 I escaped for the afternoon from the madhouse of an ordination training residential to the comparative sanity of my friend Tony's studio. During a tea break in a session, Tony said these imortal words " I've just found this amazing album" and my love affair with Andromeda Heights began - sanity was restored and I completed the residental and training.

  • Moloko -

    Moloko: Things to make and do
    Brilliant music within the scope of the dance music genre. Crisp instrumentation, meets cool beats, and the voice of Roisin - how I love Moloko

  • Craig Armstrong -

    Craig Armstrong: Piano Works
    If I were not Tom Allen ( artistically and musically speaking) I would be Craig Armstrong - from my discovery of him through Massive Attack I have loved and admired his work - and Piano Works covers his repetoire in stunning style

  • Joe Cocker -

    Joe Cocker: Sheffield Steel
    The greatest album from the greatest rock intrepreter of them all - genius production meets some of the best songs of all time sung by that voice - I've confess that I have sampled the album to oblivion

  • Paul Simon -

    Paul Simon: Graceland
    Had to be a Paul Simon album and it had to be Graceland. A epoch making album which opened African music to the world but seamlessly combined that music with western rock and pop with songs to die for.

  • Cosmic Rough Riders -

    Cosmic Rough Riders: Enjoy the melodic sunshine
    Glasgow's finest produce the ultimate guitar-song album of pure delight and of a quality that puts Athlete et al in the shade - shame it was two years too early and the lead singer left after this debut album

  • Massive Attack -

    Massive Attack: Blue Lines
    OK so Bristol has launched Portishead, Tricky and Roni Size, but it was the staggering impact of this debut which created a genre in trip-hop and a collective approach to song-writing, band membership which has influenced a generation and spawned so many other deriratives. From the low-fi paranoia of "Five Man Army" and the unrepeatable melancholic splendour of "Unfinished Sympathy", this is a 20th century classic.

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21 January 2005



they don't sound like an upright at all - at least, not any I've ever played. The ones I've played I find v. difficult to get a satisfying sound out of. a bit kind of flabby in the lowest range, I think. I'd love to know if you do find a good one - I'd go out and buy one immediately.

I was fantastically lucky to come across a 1967 Gretsch fretless - qute rare - which you actually play upright on a spike, and if you can't see it you keep saying "is it upright? or is it electric?" it's so on the edge of both sounds. It's my first choice bass now for anything other than rock.

Mel Davies

Hi Tom
I think it depends what you want to use them for. Tom.
I use mine (ARIA BA3000 bought in the States) quite a bit acoutically at it works well - but it works less well in electro mode. So if you want something to accompany acoustically OK. Talk to Rob at Chicane about recording them as they have one in studio. I think it may be a fad rather than a distinctive "style" within bass playing like fretless, upright or 5 string have become.
Loved the LDC soundtrack - is it set for independent release or you too busy vicaring.



Carl at Chicane here (Rob is in the States till mid Feb).
To put it simply DON'T as I am sure that you will disappointed.Ours has not been used much and will probably depart at the next clear-out.

For recording use some of the softsynths available - will demo some when you next drop by. We feeling quite chuffed about LDC - lots of new business as a result which we need at this time of the year. Thanks

Tom Allen

Thanks everyone - seems acoustic bass is not such a good idea I have often wondered how the wood copes with those deep bass frequencies and it seems it doesn't!!

To the musos who drop by you might like to follow the link "maggi" on the first comment and there you will discover another "musician turned priest which proves that I am not as unique (or odd)as is often suggested. You will also discover one of the most credible and intelligent blogs written be a Christian - stick it in your favourites and RSS now!

Seems like the Jazz bass will have to be shared for now - interesting reggae thuds coming from upstairs as I type - kind of pleased to have a 12 year old son into Marley, Steel Pulse, The Specials, Toots and Maytells and Sly and Robbie. I heard he's causing havoc in class music lessons at school with his knowledge of reggae and roots music!



thanks for the kind words, Tom! Quite made my Friday night...
Next time you're down south give us a call and come and play with the Gretsch - it has to be played to be believed (and after that invitation, I'd better go and put some new strings on it..)

Andy Wright

I couldn't disagree more re: acoustic basses.I have a Tanglewood and I wouldn't be without it. It plays beautifully and certainly requires a different technique but gives loads of felxibility. I don't have any problems that a cheap effects pedal can't sort out!


hey i want to buy an acoustic bass as a present, but know very little about them. can anyone tell some good makes for left handed acoustic bass? has anyone heard of the make ibanez? is it a terrible make? i'm quite confused


Hi Charlotte
I have posted and update with some personal suggestions - and a request for update froma actual users

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