This week’s music releases

Johnny Cash: Simply
Johnny Cash: Simply

Kevin Bryan reviews new music, 
re-released gems and compilations.

Johnny Cash: Simply

The recordings that country icon Johnny Cash made for Sam Phillips’ legendary Sun label during the mid-1950s have been the subject of countless compilations over the years, and this nicely packaged offering marks the latest addition to the pile.

The vast majority of the 60 tracks showcased here date from those early Sun sessions, with Cash and his cohorts magically transforming their more obvious musical limitations into positive assets as they launch into perennial crowd pleasers such as Folsom Prison Blues, I Walk The Line and his classic railroad song, Hey! Porter.

Oasis: (What’s The Story) Morning Glory?

The second volume in Big Brother’s Chasing The Sun series of Oasis re-issues focuses attention on the moody Mancunians’ 1995 chart-topper, fleshed out here into a three-CD set with the inclusion of a string of B-sides and concert recordings culled from the band’s legendary gigs at venues such as Knebworth House, Maine Road Stadium and Earls Court.

The presence of so many of these fascinating obscurities should help to make this an essential purchase for the massed ranks of Oasis fanatics, and it’s certainly interesting to hear their previously unheard demos of Hey Now and Some Might Say alongside rampaging live renditions of Hello, Roll With It and Morning Glory captured for posterity at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival.

New Model Army: Between Wine And Blood

The latest offering from this uncompromising rock institution couples a powerful live set recorded during the first half of the band’s recent Between Dog and Wolf tour with a six-track album which NMA laid down in the studio when they were unable to complete the rest of their live dates because of drummer Michael Dean’s health problems.

The band have been together for more than three decades but they’ve rarely sounded more relevant or compelling, and this fine two-CD package provides an ideal introduction to their melancholy and thought-provoking sound.

Dr John: Live in Europe 1995

Salvo’s latest CD/DVD set rewards discerning punters with the distinctive delights of the good Doctor’s performance at the 1995 Montreux Jazz Festival.

The artist formerly known as Mac Rebennack was once famous for the theatrical excesses of his live act, but the old psychedelic voodoo had taken a back seat by this stage of his career as he regaled his highly receptive Swiss audience with deliciously funky versions of old favourites such as Goin’ Back To New Orleans, Iko Iko and his irresistible 1973 hit, Right Place, Wrong Time.

Rachel Podger: Perla Barocca, Early Italian Masterpieces

Violin virtuoso and Baroque specialist Rachel Podger has followed up her critically acclaimed Guardian Angel collection with this sublime recital of Italian pieces from the early Baroque era.

This was by all accounts a particularly rich and creative period in the development of the violin repertoire, and Rachel is in typically commanding form as she breathes new life into a choice selection of compositions by inventive musical figures such as Frescobaldi, Uccellini and the prolific Isabella Leonarda.