Kevin Bryan reviews new music, compilations and re-released gems.
Love: Love Songs
Arthur Lee’s trailblazing Los Angeles outfit were the first rock band to sign to the influential Elektra label during the mid-sixties. and although they never enjoyed too much in the way of commercial success Love were responsible for one of the classic psychedelic albums of the era in the shape of 1967’s Forever Changes.
This musical landmark is revived here in its entirety alongside extracts from similarly inventive gems such as Four Sail and Da Capo, with the late great Jimi Hendrix guesting on The Everlasting First, a track from their otherwise disappointing 1970 album False Start. Splendid stuff.
Colosseum: Time On Our Side
The members of Colosseum may be a little long in the tooth these days but they’ve yet to lose their genuine passion for music-making, and the pioneering jazz-rock ensemble’s first studio album since 2003’s Tomorrow’s Blues is well worth an hour or so of anyone’s time.
Saxist Barbara Thompson proves a more than able replacement for the late lamented Dick Heckstall-Smith despite being beset by some major health issues of her own, and vocalist Chris Farlowe is in typically fine fettle on stand-out tracks such as New Day, City of Love and You Just Don’t Get It.
Various: Rock’n’Roll Legends
The contents of this fun-filled rock’n’roll package have cropped up on countless CD anthologies during the past three decades or so but they still provide a feast of vibrant entertainment nonetheless.
Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry all chip in with their party pieces, and the astute compilers have also found space for gems such as The Silhouettes’ rampaging doo-wop romp Get A Job and Ricky Valance’s tragic 1960 tear-jerker, Tell Laura I Love Her.
The Walkabouts: Devil’s Road
This absorbing re-issue presents an expanded version of the string-laden set The Walkabouts recorded for Virgin Records in 1995, including a bonus CD featuring alternate takes and demos and a live version of Devil’s Road itself, which didn’t actually appear on the original album.
The band’s melancholy fusion of folk, country and Americana is captured at its most compelling on Chris Eckman creations such as The Light Will Stay On, Rebecca Wild and Forgiveness Song, all of them expertly underpinned by the sterling efforts of conductor Mark Nichols and the massed ranks of the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra.