The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
Mary Chapin Carpenter,"Songs From The Movie" (Decca/Rounder Records)- Carpenter's latest recording project finds the singer-songwriter in typically fine fettle as she revisits some choice extracts from her richly rewarding back catalogue in tandem with Grammy Award winning orchestral arranger Vince Mendoza. The finished product reflects Mary's love of the cinematic sweep of classic film and symphonic music as a 63 piece orchestra and 15 voice choir underpin spellbinding creations such as "Ideas Are Like Stars," "Come On Come On." and "The Dreaming Road."
Eddie & The Hot Rods, " 2 Sides" (Wienerworld WNRCD 5073)- This refreshingly robust offering brings together the best moments from the rejuvenated pub-rockers' recent albums alongside live versions of classic crowd-pleasers such as "Teenage Depression," "Quit This Town" and the anthemic "Do You Wanna Do." The hitherto unreleased section of the CD also showcases some of the energised cover versions which have always been such a compelling component of The Hot Rods' stage act,led by Sam The Sham's "Wooly Bully," Them's "Gloria" and The Who's "The Kids Are Alright."
"Sonja Kristina" (Angel Air SJPCD412)-Sonja Kristina is best remembered these days for her exploits with early seventies prog rockers Curved Air, but her subsequent solo recordings seem to have slipped by virtually unnoticed,and this 1980 album has become quite a rarity in vinyl form. The contents were recorded by Sonja and her band Escape with producer Nigel Gray,who also oversaw the first three Police albums , and feature a vibrant cover of Spirit's "Mr.Skin" alongside a generous helping of mildly quirky melodic rock.
Ronnie Milsap," Summer Number Seventeen" (Sony Music)- Veteran country music icon Ronnie Milsap may have released his first single half a century ago but the North Carolina born balladeer's creative output has never really made too much of an impact on British audiences in the interim,a puzzling state of affairs which this easy on the ear exercise in nostalgia is unlikely to rectify. "Summer Number Seventeen" finds Milsap serving up his slickly assembled versions of the popular ditties which influenced him during his formative years, including such unlikely bedfellows as Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife," Hank Williams'" I Can't Help It" and The Stylistics' "You Make Me Feel Brand New."
Rolando Villazon,"Mozart : Concert Arias" (D.G.479 1054)-Villazon tackles a selection of Mozart's "Concert Arias" in this splendid new collaboration with conductor Sir Antonio Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra. These rarely performed works have formed a significant portion of the charismatic Mexican tenor's live show for the past few years,and the release of this Deutsche Grammophon CD will allow him to expose their diverse delights to the attention of a much wider audience.