Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Pete Seeger: A Song and A Stone
This absorbing new DVD from Wienerworld was filmed in 1972 and traces 18 months in the life of American political activist and folk icon Pete Seeger.
It captures a blend of live concert recordings and interview material from the period when the radical balladeer was still rather shockingly blacklisted by many major media organisations in the USA.
Johnny Cash and Don McLean both make cameo appearances as Robert Elfstrom’s rarely seen documentary offers a revealing insight into Seeger’s life and work, including passionate performances of much-loved protest anthems such as Where Have All The Flowers Gone? and We Shall Overcome.
Lipstick, Powder & Paint: A Decade of Girls 1953-1962
This mildly eccentric collection of recordings from the decade which preceded The Beatles showcases the work of a whole host of long-forgotten female performers from both sides of the Atlantic.
Compiler Austin Powell has also found space for early offerings from the likes of Carole King and Nancy Sinatra alongside some bona fide musical gems from The Shirelles, The Chantels and The Marvelettes, who chip in with their infectious 1962 hit Beechwood 4-5789.
Alex Hodgson: The Brig Tae Nae Where
Alex Hodgson’s second Greentrax album finds the highly regarded Scottish singer-songwriter wearing his heart proudly on his sleeve as he serves up his poignant recollections of summer holidays long ago via affecting ditties such as A Summer Tale and The Brig Tae Nae Where itself.
Alex also sings the praises of his East Lothian home in The Toun O’ Prestonpans and reveals his qualities as an interpretative vocalist as he breathes new life into Robert Burns’ My Luv’ Is Like a Red Red Rose and Ewan MacColl’s classic The Shoals O’ Herrin’. Splendid stuff.
Zoco Duo: Historias
This highly evocative collaboration between guitarist Jacob Cordover and oboe and cor anglais player Laura Karney finds them bringing their unique sound to bear on compositions from Spain, France, Italy and South America.
Their eclectic approach to music-making informs thoughtful arrangements of everything from Argentine tango specialist Astor Piazzolla’s Cafe 1930 to Manuel de Falla’s ascetic Siete canciones populares espanolas, and the duo also immerse themselves in the charms of works by composers such as Rodrigo, Giuliani and Ravel with equally impressive results.