Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Abba: Ring Ring – deluxe edition (Polar Records)
The debut album from pop megastars Abba was completed a year before the Swedish quartet made their show-stopping appearance at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest with the irresistible Waterloo, and has tended to be largely overlooked as a result, only receiving its official British release in 1992.
The patchy original has now been fleshed out by Polar Records with the addition of 13 bonus tracks and a DVD of previously unreleased performances by the group, and should now be an essential purchase for Abba enthusiasts everywhere.
Never Trust A Hippy – Punk & New Wave ‘76-’79 (Virgin Records)
Richard Branson’s Virgin label provided a sympathetic bolt-hole for a whole host of aspiring young musical mavericks during the late 1070s, and many of their finest offerings have been gathered together here.
The wide-ranging three-CD set places the pure pop of Yellow Dog’s Just One More Night and The Motors’ Airport alongside a string of punk and post-punk classics from the likes of XTC, The Ruts, Magazine and The Sex Pistols.
They predictably come close to stealing the show with the energised Bodies, EMI and God Save The Queen.
Sutherland Brothers: Lifeboat (Talking Elephant TECD 226)
Ian and Gavin Sutherland were still floundering around rather forlornly in search of fame and fortune when they recorded their second album in 1972.
Although Lifeboat didn’t bring them too much in the way of commercial success it did witness the first appearance on vinyl of Sailing, the anthem which would later be covered by Rod Stewart and notch up singles sales in excess of one million in the UK alone.
The rest of this tuneful but essentially low-key package understandably pales a little by comparison, although tracks such as Lady Like You and the then highly topical Ireland do certainly repay closer investigation.
Steve Ellis: Rollin’ With The 69 Crew ( Talking Elephant TECD 233)
These historic 1970 recordings from former Love Affair teen idol Steve Ellis were recently rescued from the Sony archives after being presumed lost for more than 40 years and are now available in CD form for the very first time.
The contents include Steve’s covers of such splendid material as Tony Joe White’s Rainy Night in Georgia, Rare Bird’s Sympathy and the Stones’ Gimme Shelter, with one CD featuring the session musicians who had performed on his earlier hits.
The other disc showcase the much more earthy approach of the excellent Hookfoot.
The Hanover Band: Mozart Favourites (Nimbus NI 7093/4)
This easy on the ear collection dates from 1990 and finds period instrument specialists The Hanover Band tackling some of the most attractive works in the entire Mozart repertoire.
The composer’s much-loved Symphony No 40 and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik are both given an airing alongside stylish renditions of the Jupiter Symphony, Piano Concerto No 20, Serenata Notturna and Basset clarinet Concerto in A, the latter featuring an assured performance from soloist Colin Lawson on this relatively obscure wind instrument.