Kevin Bryan reviews new music, compilations and re-released gems.
Willie Nelson and Sister Bobbie: December Day
The venerable country outlaw’s latest CD release is a pleasingly understated collaboration with his piano playing sibling Bobbie, who has been an integral member of his Family Band since its formation in 1973.
The duo are firm adherents to the “less is more” school of music-making, and December Day showcases a hand-picked selection of their personal favourites, including their inimitable covers of everything from Willie’s own Permanently Lonely to Irving Berlin’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band and Carl Mann’s 1959 hit, Mona Lisa.
Frank Sinatra: Lovin’ & Swingin’ All Night Long
This inexpensive two-CD set is dominated by archive material from Frank Sinatra’s creative heyday in the 1950s, highlighting his twin personas as finger-snapping showman and introspective bar-room balladeer as it draws on some of the excellent albums he recorded for Capitol Records during this period.
A string of genuinely classic performances are given an airing in the process, including Come Fly With Me, I Get A Kick Out Of You and the song which provided Sinatra with his second million-seller, I’ve Got You Under My Skin.
The Undertones: An Introduction to the Undertones
Derry’s finest musical exports made an immediate impact when they burst on to the UK music scene in 1978 with a clutch of snappily memorable songs penned by demon guitarist John O’Neill and delivered by the tremulous tones of vocalist Feargal Sharkey.
Their early efforts were championed by no less a radio luminary than John Peel, and the late great DJ also contributes to this splendid audio-visual package as he presents his acclaimed 2003 documentary alongside seven promo videos and some vintage live footage featuring classic creations such as Teenage Kicks and Here Comes The Summer.
Rosalyn Tureck: J S Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Goldberg Variations
American classical pianist Rosalyn Tureck always felt a particular affinity for the music of Bach, and this highly impressive six-CD set features two recordings of the great man’s work separated by almost half a century.
Tureck’s genuinely spiritual performance of The Well-Tempered Clavier dates from 1953 and is reproduced in its original glorious mono, while her valedictory recital of the Goldberg Variations was captured for posterity in 1998 and is a much more cerebral but equally compelling piece of work.