The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
Nazareth,"Rock'n'Roll Telephone" (Union Square Music)- Bassist Pete Agnew and gravel voiced frontman Dan McCafferty have been constant presences in the Nazareth line-up ever since the band made their vinyl debut in 1971 ,but serious health problems have now prompted the latter to call it a day after more than four decades of loyal service to the cause. McCafferty's musical swansong is a typically gritty and vital offering, and the deluxe edition is fleshed out with the addition of potent live versions of perennial crowd-pleasers such as "Sunshine" and "Expect No Mercy."
"Deep Feeling-75 Masterpieces by 31 Blues Guitar Heroes" (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 199)- Blues authority Neil Slaven's new 3 CD anthology presents a vivid portrait of Post War blues at its most varied and compelling, drawing on archive contributions from such leading lights of the genre as Elmore James, Buddy Guy and the three unrelated Kings, Freddie,Albert and B.B. The contents also showcase the musical exploits of a string of gifted performers who were probably never even household names in their own households,with Guitar Slim, Robert Ward and Hop Wilson turning in some particularly fine performances.
Ten Years After,"Live at Reading '83" (Talking Elephant TECD247)-The band's show stopping performance of "Going Home" at the legendary Woodstock Festival in 1969 may have catapulted Ten Years After and their demon guitarist Alvin Lee into the higher echelons of rock stardom for a while but long term success was much harder to achieve. and steadily declining record sales forced the band to finally give up the ghost six years later. The original line-up reformed briefly in 1983 to play the Reading Festival and this live souvenir of the event captures their rousing renditions of old favourites such as "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes," "Love Like A Man" and the eagerly anticipated finale,"Going Home."
Morrissey,"Vauxhall and I"(Parlophone Records)- This expanded version of Morrissey's chart topping 1994 album now includes a hitherto unavailable recording of the melancholy Mancunian's concert at London's Theatre Royal from the following year. including his mildly surreal re-working of the Andy Williams hit,"Moon River." The recent untimely deaths of three of the singer's close associates had obviously influenced the lyrical content of "Vauxhall and I" as Morrissey unveiled what must still rank as his most complete solo offering to date,with "The More You Ignore Me," "Now My Heart Is Full" and "Speedway" emerging as the best of the bunch.
Larry Gatlin,"The Pilgrim / Rain Rainbow" (Morello/Cherry Red MRLL 34)- Texan singer-songwriter Gatlin was earning a living as a member of Kris Kristofferon's backing band when he made the momentous decision to strike out on his own and the rest,as the old cliche goes,is history. Gatlin went on to become one of country-pop's most successful performers during the seventies and eighties, and this CD re-issue couples his first two solo albums to offer an easy on the ear insight into the tuneful and undemanding sound which won the hearts of so many American record buyers during those far off days.