Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
The Waterboys: Fisherman’s Box (EMI Records)
The sessions for The Waterboys’ classic Fisherman’s Blues collection spanned the lengthy period from January 1986 to June 1988.
Frontman Mike Scott has decided to mark the 25th anniversary of its release by assembling this all-embracing six-CD set, unveiling no less than 85 tracks which were recorded for the album but subsequently discarded.
The warm, folksy and ultimately life-affirming contents reflect Scott’s eclectic musical tastes, including splendid cover versions of everything from Van Morrison’s Sweet Thing to Mungo Jerry’s You Don’t Have To Be In The Army.
Be-Bop Deluxe: At The BBC 1974-1978 (Parlophone Records)
This impressive four-disc set should be greeted like manna from heaven by fans of Bill Nelson’s criminally under-rated prog rock outfit.
It brings together all the material the band recorded for the BBC during their creative heyday in the mid-1970s.
The late John Peel had always been a great champion of Bill’s distinctive approach to music-making and this anthology revives the four fine sessions Be-Bop Deluxe recorded for the great Radio One DJ during those days, including their eloquent renditions of Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape, Sister Seagull and Maid In Heaven.
Joe Brown: The Ukelele Album – Deluxe Edition (Absolute/Universal)
This newly-expanded version of his 2012 album has been released to tie in with Joe Brown’s current British tour.
It finds the great rock ‘n’ roll survivor applying his impeccable ukelele technique to memorable ditties such as 10cc’s I’m Not In Love, Motorhead’s Ace of Spades and McGuiness Flint’s rustic 1970 hit, When I’m Dead and Gone.
The affable charm which has helped this genial performer to maintain a musical career which began long long ago in 1958 is particularly apparent on the bonus live disc as Joe launches into a selection of golden oldies from the pre-Beatles era led by Picture of You and That’s What Love Will Do.
Chopin – Piano Masterpieces (Warner Classics)
Frederic Chopin’s name has become synonymous with keyboard music of the highest order, and this new three-CD anthology focuses attention on many of the Polish expatriate’s finest creations, drawing on some peerless recordings from the Warner Classics’ archives.
Top-notch classical performers such as Nikolai Lugansky, Boris Berezovsky and Maria-Joao Pires tackle a generous selection of Chopin’s subtle and sophisticated keyboard miniatures alongside the composer’s two piano concertos, and a more attractive introduction to the great man’s stylish repertoire would be difficult to imagine.
Maddy Prior with the Carnival Band: A Tapestry of Carols (Saydisc CD-SDL 366)
This enchanting Yuletide offering first saw the light of day in 1987, and found Steeleye Span chanteuse Maddy Prior immersing herself in the delights of a varied assortment of ancient Christmas carols, aided and abetted by early music enthusiasts The Carnival Band.
The contents present a beguiling blend of the much-loved and the totally obscure, with old favourites such as The Holly and the Ivy and Ding Dong Merrily On High nestling snugly alongside some arcane seasonal creations from Cornwall, Poland and medieval Germany.