Kevin Bryan reviews new music, compilations and re-released gems.
Whitehorse: Leave No Bridge Unburned
The gifted husband and wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland may hail from cold and snowy Canada but a rich vein of the purest Southern Gothic runs through much of their finest work as they unveil a series of compellingly dramatic narratives for your listening pleasure.
The duo have expanded their sound a little for Leave No Bridge Unburned, bringing in keyboards and real drummers to embellish the classic Americana of Downtown, Baby What’s Wrong? and Sweet Disaster, the latter echoing the memorable intro of The Zombies’ 1968 US hit, Time of the Season.
White Plains: The Deram Records Singles Collection
Cherry Red’s latest retrospective traces the shortlived but highly lucrative recording career of White Plains, the largely anonymous session band which enjoyed a brief run of chart success during the early 1970s.
The London-based outfit functioned as a vehicle for the commercially orientated creations of songwriters such as Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway of I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing fame, and this easy on the ear retrospective rounds up all the A and B sides their constantly changing line-up recorded for Decca’s Deram offshoot during this period, including infectious ditties such as My Baby Loves Lovin’, Julie Do Ya Love Me and When You Are A King.
Various: Bubbling Under The American Charts 1959-1963
This wide-ranging anthology from compiler Austin Powell explores some of the recordings which notched up healthy sales in America during the late 1950s and early 1960s but narrowly failed to find their way into the lower reaches of the singles charts.
Many of the 90 tracks are deservedly obscure but a surprising number of pop, country and soul luminaries also contribute to the proceedings, including Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke and the 12-year-old Stevie Wonder, who chips in with his 1962 debut single, I Call It Pretty Music But The Old People Call It The Blues.
Various: Greatest Ever Classic Rock - The Definitive Collection
To describe this three-CD set as “definitive” would be a slight exaggeration, but the good people at Union People have certainly pulled out all the stops in assembling this compelling showcase for all that’s best in old-fashioned guitar-based rock.
The star-studded track listing includes contributions from a whole host of 1970s rock luminaries led by Free, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and Jethro Tull, and no compilation of this type could ever really be complete without the inclusion of Deep Purple’s 1972 anthem, Smoke on the Water.
Alexander Rudin: Cello
This absorbing vehicle for the talents of Alexander Rudin draws on archive recordings made in 1978 and 1983 and finds the highly regarded Russian cellist tackling works by Beethoven, Klengel, Myaskovsky, J S Bach and the latter’s direct Baroque contemporary Giuseppe Valentini.
Rudin’s treatment of Beethoven’s variations on the theme from Mozart’s Magic Flute is particularly attractive, capturing the essence of the gifted Muscovite’s historically aware approach to music-making.