It was on this album that all of the Seekers' varied attributes – including Judith Durham's powerful vocals, the increasingly virtuoso-level playing (especially on the acoustic 12-string) and singing of Bruce Woodley, Athol Guy, and Keith Potger, and Woodley's burgeoning songwriting talent – kicked in at their peak at the same time. The album opens with the title track, a Woodley original that's one of the best folk-style recordings to come out of the British Invasion and also one of the Seekers' (and Durham's) greatest performances, hers and the others' voices, coupled with their acoustic guitars, evoking the sound of bells chiming.
Recorded in 1966, Robert Shaw's Grammy Award-winning performance of Handel's Messiah marks an important turning-point in this work's interpretation, clearly moving away from the ponderous, overly reverential style of early twentieth century renditions and pointing toward the leaner versions of the 1970s onwards, which follow Baroque-period practices. (…) Evenly divided between two discs, this recording of Messiah is complete, and it is preferred over RCA's 1992 excerpt album The Great Choruses from Messiah.
Superb… Szell shows the utmost sensitivity to every facet of the music… His interpretation is backed by flawless playing by the Cleveland Orchestra. – The Gramophone
Just because The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming was vastly overrated by contemporary critics does not make it any less amusing. The story gets under way when a Soviet submarine accidently gets lodged in a sandbar on the coast of a New England town. In his feature film debut, Alan Arkin plays the sub's second-in-command, who is ordered by commander Theodore Bikel to free up the sub and skeedaddle before an international incident erupts. Hoping to secure a power boat to tug the sub out to sea, Arkin and his men call upon vacationing TV writer Carl Reiner, passing themselves off as Norwegians. When this ruse fails, Arkin is reluctantly compelled to force Reiner at gunpoint to fetch his motorboat, while gentle-natured Russian sailor John Philip Law is left behind to guard Reiner's wife Eva Marie Saint and pretty neighbor girl Andrea Dromm (yes, love blooms). The plot thickens when the locals, notably bullnecked sheriff Brian Keith and superpatriot Paul Ford, spread the word that the Russians have "invaded" their little community.
This 37-track, two-disc set is the most comprehensive compilation of John Renbourn's recording career to date. In one sense, Renbourn can be defined as a traditional British folk guitarist, but within that category, he has managed a wide variety of different recording projects over 40 years. There are the solo guitar albums, of course, but then there are also duo albums with Bert Jansch and Stefan Grossman; Renbourn's major group affiliation with Pentangle; his own band projects, the John Renbourn Group and John Renbourn's Ship of Fools, and even prominent work as a sideman for other artists.