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There and Back Again by Pat Murphy writing as Max Merriwell is a great spaced-up version of The Hobbit It started as a joke between Pat and her editor; something Pat, as Max, had been daydreaming about doing but was sure she'd never have the nerve to try. Pat really had nothing to worry about because this novel is completely delightful. Even on its own, for someone who's never read The Hobbit (is there such a person?) it's a great intergalactic romp. It's great as space opera, and the characters are well-developed. If you remember the original story the plot of There and Back Again is predictable, but exactly how the things that happen will happen is fun to watch unfold. Reading this fun piece will give the reader a more well-rounded view of Pat Murphy's work.

There and Back Again is the title of Bilbo Baggins' memoirs, in which he records the events of the story that we know as The Hobbit. Tolkien wrote all his middle-earth stories with the conceit that he had found books from an ancient culture written in an ancient language, and translated them into our world's langauges -- the common language became English, and the other languages became invented languages which preserved the feel of the original from the perspective of someone who spoke the common language. For example, the language of the Elves sounded foreign, musical, and complex to the ears of the Hobbits, so Tolkien invented a language based on Finnish, which sounds that way to English-speakers.

The Hobbit is thus the contents of There and Back Again, with some explanation and framing story added by the "translator."
This is the name of the upcoming Phil Lesh & Friends studio record on the Lapis Music/Columbia Records label.

This is the first time Phil has been in the studio since 1989 when the Grateful Dead recorded their last studio disc Built To Last.

"I wanted this band to make a record because I wanted to see whether we could translate that energy that we have live, with the onstage jamming, into compositions for recording, which is really an art in itself," said Lesh in a statement on his website.

The title is a clear reference to the continuation of the Long Strange Trip that this San Francisco bassist extraordinaire has participated in since 1964.

The record will be released in two versions: one to be sold only over the Internet on April 16, 2002 with a bonus track. And another standard version sans bonus track in May for the stores.

The disc contains 10 new originals and a version of Liberty, a Dead song written by Lesh's Grateful Dead co-founder Jerry Garcia (the Dead never recorded it in the studio b4 Jerry died in 1995).

Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter contributed to six of the album's 11 tracks. "It's like a new isotopes of rock and roll matter has entered the universe," Hunter wrote on his blog after hearing the rough mixes. "Or like a piece of the sun split off and started circling the moon. A whole new beginning based on the old premises, unexpectable if not simply inconceivable at this age and date, but there it is!"

The band's lineup is:
Warren Haynes on guitar and vocals (Allman Brothers, Govt. Mule)
Jimmy Herring on guitar (Aquarium Rescue Unit, Allman Brothers)
Rob Barraco on keyboards and vocals (Zen Tricksters),
John Molo drums (Bruce Hornsby Band)
Phil Lesh bass (Grateful Dead, The Other Ones)

Produced by:
Don Gehman (Hootie & the Blowfish, John Mellencamp),

Track List:
Celebration
Night Of A Thousand Stars
The Real Thing
Again and Again
No More Do I
Patchwork Quilt
Liberty
Midnight Train
Leave Me Out of This
Welcome to the Underground
Rock-n-Roll Blues

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