Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Ultravox: The Albums 1980-2012 (Chrysalis Records)
This impressive nine-CD set concentrates on the Ultravox albums which feature Midge Ure as the band’s frontman, ignoring the two albums which violinist Billy Currie masterminded during the early 90s, Revelation and Ingenuity.
Ure’s recruitment in 1980 signalled an immediate upsurge in fortunes for the electro pioneers, and the former Slik frontman’s well developed pop sensibilities helped to inspire a string of memorable chart singles during the next few years, including The Voice, Love’s Great Adventure and the grandiose Vienna.
Ultravox finally gave up the ghost in 1987 but they were tempted to reform more than two decades later to record the live Return To Eden, which finds the classic line-up in masterly form as they revisit the cream of their illustrious back catalogue.
Christy Moore: Where I Come From (Sony Music)
Christy Moore’s admirable honesty and visceral dislike of injustice dominates this unusual retrospective, which features sparse and intimate re-recordings of many of his finest self-penned songs, as well as a couple of freshly minted creations, Where I Come From and the irreverent Arthur’s Day.
The Kildare balladeer’s poetic and thought-provoking approach to music-making is captured at its most compelling in this impressive three-CD set, which showcases politically charged ditties such as The Wicklow Boy, Veronica Guerin and Viva La Quinte Brigada, alongside the amiable whimsy of Joxer Goes to Stuttgart and Delerium Tremens.
Jethro Tull: Benefit (Chrysalis Records)
Tull’s third album, Benefit, was released in April 1970 and utilised state-of-the-art studio technology as the band jettisoned the bluesier elements of their earlier output in favour of a much more quirky and rock-orientated sound.
The finished product was awash with arresting guitar riffs and florid flute work and soared into the higher reaches of the UK album charts, and this classic offering has now been re-issued by Chrysalis with the inclusion of a string of splendid bonus tracks, including mono and stereo versions of their singles Teacher, Sweet Dream and Witch’s Promise.
Dead Good: Eternal Classics from the Grim Reaper’s Jukebox (Fantastic Voyage FVCD 177)
This interesting archive collection explores the morbid phenomenon of the death disc, which was all the rage for a few years during the late 50s and early 60s as teenage record-buyers revelled in their sad sagas of doom and despair.
The 30 tracks on offer here include undisputed gems of the genre such as The Everly Brothers’ Ebony Eyes, Jody Reynolds’ Endless Sleep and Ray Peterson’s Tell Laura I Love Her, sharing the limelight with some genuine obscurities from the likes of Lee Hazelwood, Ronnie Hawkins and Robert Mitchum.
Itzhak Perlman: Saint-Saens: Violin Concerto No 3, Wieniawski Violin Concerto No 2” (D.G. 479 1928)
This memorable archive recording dates from 1983 and finds virtuoso violinist Itzhak Perlman tackling two of the most attractive concertos the 19th century has to offer.
The Saint-Saens offering is a particularly fine piece of work, specifically penned for the great Spanish musician Pablo Sarasate and now firmly established as one of the most performed items in the composer’s repertoire.