CD/DVD Reviews

We asked Community Care contributors what CDs and DVDs they hope to receive or intend to give this Christmas…

Andrew Cozens
Strategic adviser for children, adults and health services, IDeA
For a huge Van Morrison fan like me, on the top of my list is his first ever official DVD release – Van Morrison: Live in Montreux 1974-1980. This features the highlights of two concerts spanning his most creative period and including a lot of his best songs.

Anthony Douglas
Chief executive, Cafcass
For my DVDs I’m after The Wind that Shakes the Barley – Ken Loach’s searing story of the Irish freedom movement in the early 1920s, where liberation soon turned to internal strife, and is beautifully acted. And also the DVD seven-pack of all the Prime Suspect episodes, the classiest British thriller series ever, with Helen Mirren as the glass ceiling breaker supreme. For my CD, it’s Nine by Damien Rice, songs that are initially baffling then won’t leave you alone, by an Irish singer making as strong an impact as Van the Man did 40 years ago.

Graham Hopkins
Practice editor, Community Care
If social work had a house band I’m convinced it would be the Leeds-based anarchist collective Chumbawamba. Their recent transformation into an acoustic folk group may have been a musical evolution but it’s one that retains the sense of revolution: it’s punk folk, folks. Beautiful songs, cracking melodies, sumptuous harmonies and – wait for it – lyrics that actually mean something: mixing insight and social awareness with poignancy and humour. I caught them live (an intimate acoustic evening) and am delighted that they have just released the CD of the tour. Anyone who has seen them live will appreciate why they are at the top of my CD list this year.

Des Kelly
Executive director, National Care Forum
I want Free Forever on DVD if only to see the film of Free at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970. I was one of the 500,000 in the crowd and I’ve reached an age where reminiscence is a recurring joy. Christmas can be a great time for CDs with so many box sets and reissues. I’m looking forward to having the time to actually play some of the CDs I’ve bought in the last few weeks.

David O’Driscoll
Hertfordshire history project worker
I am hoping to get the Oscar nominated Murderball, a rare documentary film on disability, focusing on the violent game of wheelchair rugby played by paraplegics. This fascinating DVD, which covers the intense rivalry between the US and Canadian teams preparing for the 2004 Olympics, is very moving, funny and psychologically complex.

Su Rana
Senior drug dependency worker, Bradford City PCT
Bob Dylan’s Modern Times is an album that I will be buying for a couple of people: full of energy and one of the best Dylan albums for a long time. I also plan to buy a DVD called Dreamkeeper. It is about native Americans living on Pine Ridge reservation in absolutely awful conditions. A grandfather and his grandson travel across North America to a Pow Wow where the grandfather, who is a story teller, will tell his stories. As they travel, the grandfather speaks to the grandson and the stories of native American mythology come alive with amazing special effects. A deeply moving and very long film! All the actors are native American. One other DVD I plan to buy and give is Omkara – an Indian film version of Othello. It has magnificent scenery, and fantastic music and costumes.

Jef Smith
Writer, consultant and trainer
Beethoven’s late work is often said to appeal to listeners later in life, so I may be in good company in having only just discovered the A minor string quartet, Opus 132. Its long middle movement, written while the composer was recovering from illness and, as he put it, “feeling new strength”, was very moving when I heard it at a recent performance by the Takacs Quartet. The CD comes, conveniently for a Christmas wellwisher, in a boxed set of three discs from Decca at about ₤30.

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