This week, in issue 17, a selection of potted CD reviews or expanded news or however you care to view this lot
YOKO MIWA TRIO
Title: Songs of Joy
On her new album, Japanese pianist, Yoko Miwa appears here with bassist Will Slater and Scott Goulding on drums. On this new release she combines five of her own compositions with tracks from Thelonius Monk, Richie Havens, Billy Preston and more.
She’s only a little thing but her style is quite powerful. She attacks the keys giving her music a big, bold, definite, direct and grand delivery. Oh, and is that a record label or a computer operating system? We need to be told.
Title: Acid Croft Vol.9
Recorded in Watercolour Studios in the Scottish Highlands, in spitting distance of Ben Nevis (if you can spit really, really well) this folk rock outing is the band’s ninth album, hence the title.
Featuring songs by band members Eilidh Shaw (fiddle), Ewan MacPherson (mandolin) and Kaela Rowan (vocals), the album also includes compositions by Shoogle pals Ian Carr and Tia Files (The Poozies).
There’s a lively contrast of low slung rock vibes with the treble-infused mandolin and fiddle that conveys a real sense of life, energy and sparkle which underlies the entire album.
Title: Ein Weltleck in der Echokammer
Label: Bureau b
…or Jo Zimmermann from Cologne, whose been active as a musician since 1992, creating lo-fi krautrock. This is album number 10 from the man.
There’s eight tracks on this album which the press release refers to as “sun drenched” and, you know what? It’s absolutely right. Track one, Welteck, for example, is a slow-moving, easy going, slightly quirky and eccentric yet good humoured song that eases a smile on your face.
Combining organic and electronic instruments, this is perfect for Spring. Renewal, hope and fluffy bunny rabbits.
CHERRIES ON THE LOSE
Title: 28 First Recordings
“Where oh where can my baby be/The Lord took her away from me” Poignant words from the first track from Wayne Cochran’s Last Kiss, from 1961, a jolly tale of losing your girlfriend in a car crash. A variation on the classic lost love story song type. But variation is the key to this compilation which focuses on 50s rock and roll and pop but dips into the 40s and 60s too.
Hence you’ll find The Crickets’, featuring Sonny Curtis on guitar, replacing the late Buddy Holly with 1959’s I Fought the Law, Jonny Fuller’s Haunted House – complete with scary laugh and R&B goodness from the Marie Knight with 1956’s Tell Me Why.
Title: Nothing Comes Easy 1991-2012
Presented in a clamshell box, this collection features five albums from the band that includes works from 1991 to 2012 plus a mini poster that has, on the flip, a full track listing and production credits for the included discs.
Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991 was produced after the completion of the 1987 reunion tour. Full of energy and passion, it’s not a great album but ideal for fans.
The Last Rebel emerged in 1993 as the follow-up to 1991 and treads water but again, fans should be happy.
Zooming onwards to 2009’s Gods & Guns arrives with an extra EP CD from the same period and Gary Rossington as the only remaining original band member. The band might sound familiar but it also notably replaces original vocalist, Ronnie Van Zandt’s layered, nuanced and emotionally complex singing style with a one-dimensional ego strut.
Last of a Dying Breed from 2012 is certainly a break from the southern rock of the past to a more modern heavy rock layering.
Don’t expect to find the lost soul of Lynyrd Skynyrd in this box set. That died in a host of tragic deaths that plagued the band over the years. This box contains only echoes which, for fans in need of solace, may very well be enough.
Crazy Crazy Feelin’: The Definitive Early Doug Sahm
A man imbued with the spirit of Texas, Sahm had a long career and a host of different phases within that career while packing in recordings devoted to rock and blues and country and cajun and Western swing and a whole lot more. A child prodigy on both pedal steel guitar and mandolin, he made his recording debut in 1955 and ended though to the late 90s when he died of a heart attack, a victim of his lifestyle. The UK’s Independent newspaper quoted Sahm in its obituary who said, “”I did a lot of cocaine but I did a lot of rhythm and blues.”
This CD collection of 30 tracks features a host of fascinating tracks from his child performance in A Real American Joe as part of Little Doug & The Bandits then later with the Pharaohs, The Knights, The Mar-Keys, The Dell Kings, The Spot Barnett Band. You’ll find his work on the Renner label here, though by many to be the source of his finest work.
Title: The Original Mono Singles As & Bs
There’s 33 tracks on this CD ranging from 1956 to 1962 and from The Teen Kings’ Trying to Get to You, to his frustrating time on RCA with tracks like Almost Eighteen and, classics like Only the Lonely all the way to Working for the Man on the Monument label. A neat, tidy, classic collection.
Tite: Birth of A Legend, 1962: Studio Recordings
A lovely little compilation from this legendary singer that is nearly split into two. The first 14 tracks look at her Columbia sides featuring two singles including tracks like Happy Days are here Again, tracks from two soundtracks including I Can Get it For You Wholesale and Pins and Needles plus a host of RCA demos for an unreleased album, 11 in all. The demos include Lover, Come Back to Me (Romberg and Hammerstein), Rodgers and Hart’s Bewitched and I Had Myself a True Love from Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer.
A cracking selection and well worth grabbing from fans of the lady or anyone who appreciates the craft of song interpretation.
MATT GUITAR MURPHY
Title: In Session: From Memphis To Chicago 1952-1961
A superb blues guitar fest with the much under-appreciated artist who appears here enriching the work of bigger names such as Junior Parker, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and others. Murphy’s work with Memphis Slim should be isolated for particular praise. His 50s-sourced recordings behind Slim are of particular recommendation for any blues fan. There’s 28 tracks of pure blues richness on this one.
Title: Stormchild Rising
It’s not particularly innovative. In fact, I’ve seen more innovation in a cheese sandwich. It doesn’t push boundaries, there’s nothing new here and hard rock fan probably has 47 variations of this album already on their shelves. But. But. This melodic approach to rock will hit the nostalgia nerve in many rockers. It smells of the 80s and many will find that aroma completely irresistible. This is must to jump round the room to, it’s a party record, it’s an air guitar record, it’s a singing in the shower record. In short? It’s fun.