Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Boogie Chillen: Early Mods’ First-Choice Vinyl (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 156)
This wide-ranging three-CD set was compiled and annotated by original mod Rob Nicholls and serves up 75 tracks which accurately reflect the eclectic musical tastes of the participants in the British mod movement during the early 1960s.
The vibrant contents are a beguiling blend of blues, r&b, soul, pop and rock ‘n’ roll, including classic offerings from the likes of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, The Miracles and laconic jazzman Mose Allison, who chips in with the much-recorded Parchman Farm.
The Stray Birds: Echo Sessions EP (TSB 003)
This Pennsylvania trio’s debut album was hailed as one of the year’s finest folk/Americana releases when it first saw the light of day in a couple of years ago, and this new five-track EP is another skilfully crafted acoustic gem.
The gifted multi-instrumentalists spent a richly rewarding day in October 2013 recording a batch of their favourite songs around a single microphone, capturing the spontaneity of their live show as they breathed new life into gems such as Jimmie Rodgers’ Blue Yodel #7 and Nanci Griffith’s I Wish It Would Rain.
Ravel: Bolero – Orchestral Masterpieces (Warner Classics)
This enjoyable vehicle for the collective talents of conductor Armin Jordan and L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande focuses attention on a broad cross-section of works from the repertoire of the impressionist French composer Maurice Ravel.
Pianist Francois-Rene Duchable performs the two piano concertos, and the compilers at Warner Classics have also found space for exotic creations such as Tzigane and Sheherazade alongside Ravel’s best known-work, the climactic Bolero.
Jolie Goodnight: Say Goodnight Gracey (Sunbird SBD 0020)
Texan chanteuse Jolie Goodnight indulges her passion for the music of a bygone era with Say Goodnight Gracey, a quirkily arranged exercise in musical nostalgia showcasing her seductive versions of timeless standards such as Pennies From Heaven, These Foolish Things and George Gershwin’s Summertime. Splendid stuff.
Michala Petri: Telemann – Complete Recorder Sonatas (Our Recordings 8.226909)
Danish recorder virtuoso Petri continues her one-woman campaign to restore some long overdue credibility to this much-maligned instrument as she immerses herself in the Baroque delights of Georg Philipp Telemann’s sonatas for recorder and basson continuo.
She’s aided and abetted in her task here by harpsichordist Anthony Newman, and the finished product is delightfully melodic and economical.