Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Keith Emerson: Changing States (Esoteric ECLEC 2440)
This wide-ranging vehicle for the talents of prog rock keyboard wizard Keith Emerson was first released in 1995 but has been unavailable for many years now, although it must rank as the ELP mainstay’s most consistently impressive solo offering to date.
The contents are often more reminiscent of Emerson’s 1960s exploits with The Nice than his later, much more bombastic work with ELP, and Another Frontier, Montagues and Capulets and a striking re-invention of George Gershwin’s Summertime capture this much-maligned musician at something close to his brilliant best.
Pete Molinari: Theosophy (Cherry Red CDBRED 620)
Chatham-born Pete Molinari was fascinated by the work of maverick balladeers such as Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan during his formative years, and their influence is never too far from the surface as he unveils the eagerly awaited follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed A Train Bound For Glory.
Pete’s uninhibited approach to music-making was honed in the bars and cafes of New York’s legendary Greenwich Village and Theosophy boasts a fine batch of songs steeped in the spirit of personal freedom and the seductive lure of the open road, with I Got Mine and When Two Worlds Collide emerging as the best of the bunch.
Neil Innes & Fatso: Farewell Posterity Tour (Angel Air SJPCD 442)
Effortlessly humourous songwriter Neil Innes has been delighting audiences with his whimsical ditties ever since his stint with noted eccentrics the Bonzo Dog Band in the late 1960s, and a country tinged re-vamp of the Bonzos’ infectious 1968 hit I’m The Urban Spaceman provides one of the highlights of this easy on the ear live set.
Innes and his cohorts also revive many of the affectionate Beatles pastiches that he penned for The Rutles a few years later alongside covers of everything from Poco’s Better Think Twice and Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite to George Harrison’s Beware of Darkness, with former Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner in sparkling form throughout.
Allan Clarke: Sideshow Solo Recordings (Cherry Red/RPM RETROD 942)
This anthology focuses attention on the largely unsuccessful solo career of Hollies’ vocalist Clarke, drawing on the three albums he recorded for EMI during the 1970s, plus his 1975 single version of Bruce Springsteen’s Born To Run.
Clarke was an early champion of the great man’s work and the two-CD set also showcases two other Springsteen numbers, If I Were The Priest and Blinded By The Light, alongside covers of songs made famous by everyone from Little Richard and Dobie Gray to the Sutherland Brothers.
Chicago Bound: Chess Blues, R&B and Rock’n’Roll (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 193)
Many of the leading lights of American urban blues and r&b found a sympathetic outlet for their talents at the legendary Chess label during the immediate post war era, and this excellent three-CD anthology brings together the cream of their hugely influential output.
The contents draw on recordings made between 1948 and 1962 by luminaries such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and John Lee Hooker as well as some classic examples of early rock ‘n’ roll led by Eddie Fontaine’s Nothin’ Shakin’ and Dale Hawkins’ 1957 hit Susie Q.