This week’s music releases

John Lee Hooker: Cook With The Hook
John Lee Hooker: Cook With The Hook

Kevin Bryan reviews the best new music releases.

This absorbing audio-visual treat extends over three discs, serving up the cream of John Lee Hooker’s musical output between 1948 and 1961 alongside a DVD featuring the great man’s performance at a rather curious festival held in an active landfill site in Massachusetts in July 1974.

Mississippi-born Hooker’s intense and mesemeric approach to music-making influenced a whole host of aspiring young bluesmen on both sides of the Atlantic during their formative years and many of his finest creations are given an airing here, including Boom Boom, Crawlin’ King Snake and his first hit single, Boogie Chillen.

This limited edition vinyl LP has been released to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of The Pretty Things’ uncompromising debut album.

Founder members Dick Taylor and Phil May and their recently recruited sidekicks set up shop in London’s 100 Club four years ago to record a new live version of their first long-player, with their energised renditions of dusty old crowd-pleasers such as Honey, I Need, 13 Chester Street and Bo Diddley’s Pretty Thing, providing an object lesson in the art of growing old disgracefully.

Greenslade’s keyboard-dominated brand of prog rock attracted a deluge of critical plaudits during the band’s creative heyday in the mid-1970s, but a series of insoluble management problems finally prompted the band to give up the ghost in 1976.

Dave Greenslade decided to reform the quartet almost a quarter of a century later, joining forces with his old friend Tony Reeves and new members John Young and Chris Cozens to record Large Afternoon.

The finished product lacked some of the inventiveness and originality of their early work but is well worth investigating nonetheless, with On Suite and Cakewalk emerging as the best of the bunch.

Royal Southern Brotherhood’s sublime blend of rock, blues and funk represents a glorious throwback to the golden era of Southern rockers such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers some 40 years or so ago, and Gregg Allman’s guitar-toting son Devon is coincidentally one of the driving forces behind the quintet’s muscular sound.

The latter’s interplay with fellow guitarist Mike Zito is one of the most appealing features of this splendid set, and the dynamic duo are in particularly fine fettle on stand-out tracks such as World Blues, Groove On and Rock and Roll.