Kevin Bryan reviews new music, compilations and re-released gems.
The Drifters: The Very Best of the Drifters
This enjoyably dated anthology focuses attention on the Drifters’ classic recordings from the 1950s and early 1960s, including several gems from Ben E King’s highly productive stint with the group, including Save The Last Dance For Me, This Magic Moment and There Goes My Baby, the 1959 hit which made revolutionary use of a full string orchestra for the first time on a rock ‘n’ roll record.
Their constantly shifting line-up meant that in later years quite a few former members would take to the stage in an often vain attempt to convince audiences that they were the authentic Drifters, but the 58 tracks featured here are unquestionably the genuine article, and well worth an hour or so of anyone’s time.
Sad Cafe: Live
Sad Cafe’s stylish brand of soft rock is captured in all its melodic glory in this undemanding two-CD set, which was recorded at Manchester’s Apollo Theatre over three nights in April 1980.
Vocalist Paul Young would later go on to achieve even greater fame and fortune as frontman of the similarly slick Mike and the Mechanics but the soulful Mancunian was in particularly fine fettle at these triumphant hometown shows as Sad Cafe served up immaculate performances of much loved crowd pleasers such as My Oh My, Strange Little Girl and their most popular creation, Every Day Hurts.
The Korgis: ...by appointment
The newly re-formed Korgis celebrate their return to the fray with the release of a typically tuneful package featuring re-recordings of the best of their repertoire from the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The mildly eccentric Bristolian duo are obviously firm believers in the enduring power of a quirkily memorable melody and some fine examples of their distinctive songwriting style are gathered together here, including If I Had You, Mount Everest Sings The Blues and their 1980 hit, Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime.
Various: Simply Jazz After Dark
This inexpensive four-CD set explores the more mellow end of the jazz spectrum, boasting no less than 70 tracks from many of the leading lights of the genre during the 1950s and 1960s.
Luminaries such as John Coltrane, Lester Young, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis all make telling instrumental contributions to the proceedings, and the compilers have also found space to showcase the vocal abilities of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and the legendary Billie Holiday, who chips in with the classic That Ole Devil Called Love.