The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
"Get Rhythm-The Best of Dr.Feelgood 1984-1987"(Salvo SALVOMDC 038)-Salvo's gritty 2 CD set concentrates on the Feelgood's mid eighties output,featuring the workmanlike line-up which vocalist Lee Brilleaux assembled after his old outfit bit the dust in March 1983. The personnel may have changed but Brilleaux and his newly recruited cohorts continued to deliver the visceral white r&b which had been Dr. Feelgood's trademark since the days of Wilko Johnson, and they were in particularly fine fettle on tracks such as "Play Dirty," "Hunting Shooting Fishing" and "Latest & Greatest Driving Rock Anthems"(Union Square Music)-This effortlessly memorable 3 CD package ranges far and wide in its choice of subject matter,blending some classic rock anthems from the seventies with a generous helping of more contemporary material from the back catalogues of The Killers,Maroon 5 and Maximo Park to name but a few. It's the bona fide golden oldies which pack by far the greatest punch however,with Free's "All Right Now," Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Patti Smith's "Because The Night" emerging as the best of the bunch.
Rosanne Cash, "The River & The Thread" (Decca/Blue Note Records)-The influence of family history permeates every note and nuance of the superb new album from Rosanne Cash,recorded in close collaboration with her musical mentor (and husband) John Leventhal and also boasting contributions from luminaries such as John Prine,Kris Kristofferson and Alison Moorer. "The River & The Thread" presents a richly evocative exploration of the culture of the American South via expertly crafted creations such as "The Long Way Home"and the ultimately tragic Civil War ballad,"When The Master Calls The Roll."
Vladimir Ashkenazy," Rachmaninov : Complete Works for Piano" (Decca 478 6348)- The great Russian pianist may have carved out a highly successful secondary career as a conductor in recent years but this weighty anthology focusses attention on Ashkenazy's abilities as a virtuoso keyboard player par excellence. The 11 CD set brings together the Gorky born musician's recordings of the complete Rachmaninov piano repertoire, including the memorable "Rhapsody On A Theme of Paganini," "24 Preludes" and "Morceaux de Salon."
"Robby Hecht" (Old Man Henry Records)- This low-key package from Nashville based acoustic balladeer Robby Hecht represents an appealing throwback to the unashamedly introspective singer-songwriter fare which was all the rage during the early seventies. Hecht's fragile musings on the familiar themes of life,love and loneliness are elegantly underpinned by multi-talented musician and producer Lex Price,and newcomers to Robby's sound would be well advised to lend a receptive ear to prime cuts such as "Cars and Bars" or "The Sea and the Shore."