Kevin Bryan's Record Reviews

The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.

Peter Mulvey,"Silver Ladder" (Signature Sounds)- Milwaukee balladeer Peter Mulvey is the proud possessor  of a hushed baritone voice which he employs to excellent effect on a batch of subtly understated songs which often put me in mind of similarly under-appreciated performers such as Bruce Cockburn and the splendid Tom Russell.  Mulvey recorded "Silver Ladder"  in Los Angeles with a fine backing band assembled by producer and former Green On Red guitarist Chuck Prophet and a very good time was obviously had by all concerned,with tracks such as  "You Don't Have To Tell Me," "Sympathies" and  "Back in the Wind" capturing the essence of his refreshingly  human approach to music-making.

                         Steve Miller Band,"Number 5" (Edsel EDSA 5007)-  Steve  Miller was always  something of a musical chameleon,and this uplifting 1970 offering found the singer-guitarist working in tandem with Nashville session supremos Area Code 615,whose harmonica laden "Stone Fox Chase" provided the theme tune for the BBC's late lamented "Old Grey Whistle Test." The finished product relied on  the familar  blend of tuneful bluesy rock and out and out experimentation which had served Miller so well in the past,including the crisply produced "Good Morning,"  "Going To The Country " and "Tokin's."

                         Christina Skjolberg,"Come and Get It" (Ruf 1198)-Thomas Ruf's admirable blues label has  provided an invaluable outlet for many aspiring young European performers who might otherwise have found it difficult to locate a showcase for their talents,and Ruf's latest batch of new releases includes this muscular debut set from Norway's Christina Skjolberg. She may have spent her formative years a world away from the gritty realities of everyday existence in urban Chicago or the Mississippi Delta,but Christina's stinging guitar work certainly repays closer investigation,although she's still some way short of the finished article as a singer and lyricist.

                          Foreigner,"Alive & Rockin'" (SALVO SVX020)-This entertaining two disc package serves up audio and video versions of the Anglo-American oufit's  show at Germany's  Balingen festival  eight years ago. Their compelling brand of radio friendly rock was delivered  by  the  new Foreigner  line-up which had been assembled by guitarist and founder member Mick Jones a couple of years earlier,including  powerhouse drummer Jason Bonham and former Dokken bass player Jeff Pilson. "Juke Box Hero," "Cold As Ice" and "Feels Like The First Time" are the pick of this  unchallenging jaunt down memory lane.

                          Eliot Fisk & Albert Fuller,"Bach:Trio Sonatas BWV 525-530" (Nimbus NI 2583)- This absorbing  2 CD recital from Nimbus Records showcases the impeccable  musical qualities of  J.S.Bach's "Trio Sonatas." These Baroque organ works  were originally penned  as practice pieces for Bach's eldest son,Wilhelm Friedemann , but are now recognised as some of the composer's finest creations.  Fisk and  Fuller's interesting new arrangements for guitar and harpsichord provide ideal vehicles for the virtuosity which so impressed Eliot's  legendary mentor Andres Segovia  when the gifted Philadelphian  became the Maestro's final pupil some forty years ago.

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