Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.
Martyn Joseph: Being There/Martyn Joseph (Talking Elephant TECD 249)
This socially aware singer-songwriter has been compared to everyone from Bruce Cockburn to Bruce Springsteen over the years, but his poignant and perceptive creations have never really reaped the commercial dividends they so obviously deserve.
This hugely impressive re-issue brings together the two albums the Welsh balladeer recorded for Sony before he was unceremoniously dropped by the label in 1995, showcasing a string of affecting ditties led by Being There, Working Mother and Dolphins Make Me Cry. Splendid stuff.
Corky Laing & The Memory Thieves: Iridium Live (Floating World VPS602 CD)
Canadian drummer Corky Laing is best remembered these days for his sterling contributions to the vinyl output of powerhouse rock outfits Mountain and West, Bruce and Laing during the early 1970s but very little has been heard from the demon percussionist in recent years.
This muscular live offering dates from August 2012 and finds Laing and his newly recruited cohorts breathing new life into old Mountain favourites such as Mississippi Queen and Nantucket Sleighride alongside energised covers of Ring of Fire and Barry McGuire’s 1965 protest anthem, Eve of Destruction.
William Howard: Piano (Nimbus NI 6275)
The latest Nimbus recital from one of Britain’s leading classical pianists and chamber musicians finds William Howard indulging his passion for 19th century keyboard music as he serves up masterly performances of works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann and Chopin.
The inclusion of a world premiere recording of a much more contemporary piece in the shape of David Matthews’ Four Portraits adds a little more variety to the proceedings and Howard closes the CD with Matthews’ brilliantly condensed version of Wagner’s vast Ring cycle, the six-minute-long Shorter Ring.
Get on the Right Track (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 191)
Compiler Lois Wilson’s latest jaunt into the vinyl vaults has unearthed 90 vibrant tracks from half a century ago which would have delighted the denizens of Britain’s mod clubs during their heyday in the early and mid-1960s.
The list of contributors reads like a veritable who’s who of the finest performers in American R&B at the time, including luminaries such as John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, whose 1962 offering You Need Love went on to provide the inspiration for Led Zeppelin’s climactic anthem Whole Lotta Love.
Suzanne Vega Live: Solitude Standing (Wienerworld WNRD 2582)
This rather unusual DVD was filmed at the Rome Auditorium in July 2003 and found Suzanne Vega backed by bassist Mike Visceglia as she served up the cream of her back catalogue alongside readings of four of her poems, which were then translated live on stage by Valerio Piccolo for the benefit of her Italian audience.
This couldn’t help but disrupt the natural flow of the concert, although Vega devotees will probably still enjoy her pared-down performances of old favourites such as In Liverpool, Luka and Marlene on the Wall.