Kevin Bryan reviews new music, compilations and re-released gems.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Chasing Yesterday
For some inexplicable reason Oasis’ former creative mainstay continues to polarise listeners’ and critics’ opinions between love and loathing, although I must confess I was genuinely impressed by his second foray into the often perilous world of the solo recording.
Fellow Mancunian Johnny Marr guests on the emotional closing cut, Ballad of the Mighty I, one of the highlights of this enjoyably derivative set alongside the self-proclaimed “space jazz” of The Right Stuff and a fine Definitely Maybe era cast-off entitled Lock All The Doors.
Various: All About Elvis
This interesting three-CD anthology pays homage to Elvis Presley’s early music legacy via almost 100 tracks from the late 1950s, showcasing the efforts of rock ‘n’ roll luminaries such as Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison alongside a whole host of long forgotten artists who were were probably never even household names in their own households.
Many of the latter performers make their appearances to deliver mildly excruciating Presley tributes such as Elvis Presley For President, I Dreamed I Was Elvis and Trucker From Tennessee which provide a fascinating insight into the pop culture of America during those far-off days.
Mutter / Vienna Philharmonic / Levine: Carmen Fantasie
This CD re-issue originally dates from 1993 and finds violin virtuoso Anne-Sophie Mutter in typically sparkling form as she breathes new life into some of the most colourful and evocative pieces in the entire classical canon.
Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen and Carmen Fantasie are obvious highlights, and Mutter also tackles technically taxing musical creations such as Tartini’s Devil’s Trill, Wieniawski’s Legende and Massenet’s Meditation from Thais along the way, ably supported by the combined efforts of conductor James Levine and the massed ranks of the Vienna Philharmonic.
Laurence Jones / Christina Skjolberg / Albert Castiglia: Blues Caravan 2014
Thomas Ruf’s excellent record label continues its crusading campaign on behalf of all that’s best in contemporary blues with a fiery CD/DVD package recorded live in the German city of Bonn in February 2014.
The multi-national line-up of aspiring young guitarists perform an energised set of predominantly self-penned material with the notable exceptions of Dylan’s All Along The Watchtower, JJ Cale’s Cocaine and the legendary Robert Johnson’s timeless Sweet Home Chicago, all delivered with a refreshingly gutsy, no frills approach to music-making.