Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Wishbone Ash: Bare Bones
The incarnation of Wishbone Ash which laid down these unplugged tracks in 1999 bore little resemblance to the outfit whose distinctive twin lead guitar sound made such an impact on the rock fraternity during the early 1970s.
Founder member Andy Powell was the driving force behind an undemanding package which blended old and new material fairly seamlessly, and this deluxe two-CD reissue also features live recordings of six of the album tracks and a lengthy interview with Powell.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Hypnotic Eye
Tom Petty could be excused for opting to take it easy and rest on his laurels at this advanced stage of his glittering recording career, but the eagerly awaited follow-up to 2010’s Mojo actually represents a conscious return to the classic brand of focused American rock which made his work so exhilarating during the late 1970s.
Hypnotic Eye finds Petty applying his distinctive Florida drawl to a compelling collection of refreshingly direct and uncluttered rock ditties led by American Dream Plan B, Burnt Out Town and Shadow People, eloquently underpinned as ever by the sterling contributions of guitarist Mike Campbell and keyboard ace Benmont Tench.
Soul City Philadelphia
Compiler Clive Richardson’s latest soul anthology focuses attention on some of the vibrant performers who emerged from America’s fourth largest city during the early 1960s, including luminaries such as Solomon Burke, Don Covay and singer-guitarist Bobby Parker of Watch Your Step fame.
In later years the name of Philadelphia would become synonymous with the swirling strings and slick production values emanating from Gamble and Huff’s Sigma Sound Studios as outfits such as The O’Jays and Three Degrees soared into the higher reaches of the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic, but this two-CD set presents a much more earthy and engaging brand of music-making for your listening pleasure. Splendid stuff.
Old Crow Medicine Show: Remedy
Old Crow’s joyous brand of old-time American string band music is captured in all its quirkily memorable glory as the seven-piece outfit unveil the impressive follow-up to 2012’s Carry Me Back.
The multi-talented musicians present listeners with a nicely varied set which includes the poignant Dearly Departed Friend and a fine Dylan co-composition in the shape of Sweet Amarillo, as well as Doc’s Day, their heartfelt tribute to Doc Watson, the legendary folk icon who discovered the band when they were working as buskers in their native North Carolina.
Raphael Wallfisch / John York: Schumann: Works for Cello
This absorbing new recital explores the musical output of troubled composer Robert Schumann, drawing on his unusually structured Cello Concerto and a selection of the masterly miniatures which this leading light of German Romanticism penned during a remarkable burst of creativity in 1849.
The bulk of these shorter pieces were originally conceived with other solo instruments in mind, but cellist Raphael Wallfisch breathes new life into these endlessly inventive works with the invaluable support of piano accompanist John York.