Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Sweet: Hits (Angel Air SJPCD 435)
The current incarnation of Sweet is little more than a rather superior tribute band these days, with only singer and guitarist Andy Scott remaining from the original line-up which set so many teenage hearts fluttering during their glam-rock heyday in the early 1970s.
Scott and company’s latest CD offering finds the four musicians revisiting the delights of Sweet’s back catalogue as they serve up very reasonable facsimiles of golden oldies such as Teenage Rampage, Blockbuster and Ballroom Blitz to name but a few.
Susan Cattaneo: Haunted Heart (Jersey Girl Music)
The homegrown singer-songwriter genre may be in a fairly moribund state these days but things couldn’t be more different in the USA, where gifted rootsy balladeers seem to emerge from the woodwork with startling regularity.
Susan Cattaneo combines her musical career with her academic duties as a songwriting professor at the Berklee College of Music, and her fourth solo album captures the Boston performer in particularly fine fettle as she unveils a batch of deliciously organic and wordy creations led by Barn Burning, Lies Between Lovers and Revival.
Danubia Orchestra Obuda/Heja: Brahms Hungarian Dances Nos 1-21 (Warner Apex 2564 64443-1)
Johannes Brahms initially conceived these stirring adaptations of Hungarian folk themes with the piano in mind and they’ve since gone on to become some of the composer’s most popular creations.
This rousing recording dates from 2008 and finds the Budapest Orchestra immersing themselves in the rustic charms of the complete cycle of 21 Hungarian Dances with commendable verve and passion.
The O’s: Thunderdog (Electric Honey EH 1304)
The guitar and banjo wielding duo of Taylor Young and John Pedigo hail from Dallas, Texas, and Thunderdog finds the two musical mavericks mining a rich vein of life-affirming Americana.
The O’s have been likened to a cross between country music legends the Louvin Brothers and the Lovin’ Spoonful, and discerning music lovers will have an opprtunity to enjoy their infectious sound in the flesh when Taylor and John occupy the support slot on Del Amitri’s forthcoming British tour. Excellent album.
Gregg Allman: I’m No Angel Live (Cherry Red CRDVD 182)
Singer and keyboard player Gregg Allman is best remembered these days for his sterling musical exploits with the Allman Brothers Band, the trailblazing outfit which helped to spearhead the Southern Rock phenomenon in America during the early 1970s.
The fates have been much less kind to Gregg since those days but he remains a compelling performer in his own right, and this live DVD captures his full length show at The Cannery in Nashville in 1988, including a spirited revamp of the old Allmans crowd-pleaser Statesboro Blues.