Kevin Bryan's Record Reviews

6:00am Saturday 24th May 2014

The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.

Martyn Joseph,"Being There / Martyn Joseph" (Talking Elephant TECD 249)-This socially aware singer-songwriter has been compared to everyone from Bruce Cockburn to Bruce Springsteen over the years,  but his poignant and perceptive creations have never really reaped the commercial dividends that they so obviously deserve. This hugely impressive re-issue brings together the two albums that the Welsh  balladeer recorded for Sony  before he was unceremoniously dropped by the label in 1995,showcasing  a string of affecting ditties led by "Being There," "Working Mother " and "Dolphins Make Me Cry." Splendid stuff.

                        Corky Laing & The Memory Thieves "Iridium Live" (Floating World VPS602 CD)- Canadian  drummer Corky Laing is best remembered these days for his sterling contributions to  the vinyl output of powerhouse rock outfits  Mountain and West,Bruce and Laing during the early seventies  but very little has been heard from the demon percussionist in recent years. This muscular live offering dates from August 2012  and finds Laing and his newly recruited cohorts breathing new life into old Mountain favourites such as "Mississippi Queen" and "Nantucket Sleighride" alongside energised covers of "Ring of Fire" and Barry McGuire's 1965 protest anthem,"Eve of Destruction."

                        William Howard,"Piano" (Nimbus NI 6275)-The latest Nimbus recital from one of Britain's leading classical pianists and chamber musicians  finds William Howard indulging his passion for 19th century keyboard music as he serves up masterly performances of works by Mendelssohn,Schubert,Schumann and Chopin. The inclusion of a world premiere recording of a much more contemporary piece in the shape of David Matthews' "Four Portraits" adds a little more variety to the proceedings and Howard closes the CD  with Matthews' brilliantly condensed version of Wagner's vast "Ring" cycle, the six minute long  "Shorter Ring."

                         "Get on the Right Track" (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 191)-Compiler Lois Wilson's latest jaunt into the vinyl vaults has unearthed ninety vibrant  tracks from half a century ago which would have delighted the denizens of Britain's mod clubs during their heyday in the  early and mid sixties. The list of contributors reads like a veritable "who's who" of the finest performers in American r&b at the time,including luminaries such as John Lee Hooker,Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters,whose 1962 offering  "You Need Love" went  on to  provide the inspiration for Led Zeppelin's climactic  anthem "Whole Lotta Love."

                          Suzanne Vega," Live : Solitude Standing" (Wienerworld WNRD 2582)- This rather unusual DVD was filmed at the Rome Auditorium in July 2003  and found  Suzanne Vega backed by bassist Mike Visceglia as she served up the cream of her back catalogue alongside readings of four of her poems,which were then translated live on stage by Valerio Piccolo  for the benefit of her Italian audience.  This  couldn't help but disrupt the natural flow of the concert ,although Vega devotees will probably  still enjoy her pared down performances of old favourites such as "In Liverpool," "Luka" and "Marlene on the Wall."

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