Morrissey: Kill Uncle (Parlophone CDPCSX 7375)
This newly remastered version of the Mancunian malcontent’s second solo album expands on the 1991 original with the inclusion of three bonus tracks, Pashernate Love, the alternate live in studio version of There’s A Place In Hell For Me And My Friends and a surprising cover of Herman’s Hermits’ 1966 single East West.
This rather under-rated collaboration with Madness producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley also leaned heavily on the creative contribution of Fairground Attraction’s Mark E Nevin.
He stepped rather uneasily into the shoes vacated by Johnny Marr as he supplied the musical backdrop to underpin Morrissey’s lyrical flights of fancy on stand-out tracks such as Our Frank, Sing Your Life and (I’m) The End of the Family Line.
Albert Collins: Alive and Cool Plus... (Angel Air SJPCD 423)
This rather rudimentary live recording was made at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore West in 1969, when Albert Collins was performing on a star-studded bill which also included Creedence Clearwater Revival and Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.
The murky sound quality doesn’t really do justice to the Texan’s distinctive finger-picked style, but the inclusion of half a dozen studio cuts from a decade or so earlier offers a much clearer insight into the unique qualities which made him such an influential figure in blues circles.
Collins’ 1958 debut single, The Freeze, and Backstroke are the pick of those robust vinyl offerings.
Patty Griffin: American Kid (Columbia Records)
Ms Griffin released her first album, Living With Ghosts, as long ago as 1996, but the Austin-born singer is probably best known these days for her work with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy.
The former Led Zeppelin frontman also made a guest appearance on American Kid, vocalising on three tracks, Ohio, Faithful Son and Highway Song, as Patty fused elements of folk, country and Americana to create a touching and highly personal tribute to the memory of her late father.
Griffin’s decision to decamp to Memphis and enlist the services of Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi All Stars as her backing band also proved to be a creative masterstroke, and Irish Boy, Not A Bad Man and an affecting cover of Lefty Frizzell’s Mom And Dad’s Waltz find them operating at the peak of their considerable powers.
Musica Antiqua Koln/Goebe: Heinichen: Concerti Grandi (Archiv 479 1110)
Johann David Heinichen was one of the brightest stars shining in the Baroque firmament during his heyday in the early 18th century, but his musical legacy was largely forgotten until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 allowed period instrumentation specialist Reinhard Goebel to gain access to the East German archives and re-discover this inventive character’s lively and energetic creations.
These splendid recordings of the Concerti Grandi date from 1992 and provide an ideal introduction to Heinichen’s impressive Italianate repertoire.
Brad Paisley: Wheelhouse (Sony/Arista Records)
This new Arista collection finds country singer Brad Paisley stepping bravely outside his comfort zone as he explores contentious themes such as domestic abuse, religious fundamentalism and racial prejudice with varying degrees of success.
The album features guest appearances from such unlikely bedfellows as Sheryl Crow, rapper LL Cool J and Eric Idle of Monty Python fame, who pops up on Death of a Married Man, and although its subject matter may ruffle a few feathers among the mainstream country fraternity Wheelhouse does still offer an appealing showcase for Paisley’s ready wit and stylish rock-orientated guitar work.