The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
The Chieftains, "Voice Of Ages" (Hear Music)- Ireland's much loved musical ambassadors celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, and no one would have been surprised if they'd chosen to mark this momentous milestone by roping in a few of their contemporaries for an amiable jaunt down memory lane. Nothing could be further from the truth however, and "Voice of Ages" finds Paddy Moloney and company joining forces with a string of youthful performers from the worlds of indie rock and Americana to serve up captivating new versions of songs such as Dylan's "When The Ship Comes In" and the Appalachian murder ballad, "Down In The Willow Garden" with The Decemberists and Bon Iver respectively.
Jesse Winchester, "Jesse Winchester / Third Down, 110 To Go" (Edsel EDSS 1073)- Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester recorded seven exceptional albums for Bearsville Records between 1970 and 1981, and the entire catalogue has now been re-issued by Edsel in CD form. This package couples Jesse's first two recordings for the label, with Todd Rundgren and The Band's Robbie Robertson lending a hand as the Louisiana born tunesmith delivers some of the gently affecting ditties which became his trademark, including bona fide gems such as "Yankee Lady, " "Biloxi" and his best known song, the much covered "Brand New Tennessee Waltz."
The Proclaimers, "Like Comedy" (Cooking Vinyl COOKCD560X) - "Like Comedy" is The Proclaimers' ninth studio album, showcasing the disarming honesty and lyrical directness which has been such an appealing feature of Craig and Charlie Reid's sound since the identical twins made their debut in 1987 with "This Is The Story." Their music is admittedly a little more slick and polished these days , and there's certainly nothing here which packs the emotional punch of eighties hits such as "Letter From America" or "500 Miles," although Proclaimers' devotees are unlikely to remain unmoved by the distinctive charms of "After You're Gone" or their current single "Spinning Around in the Air."
Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly, "Maps" (Cooking Vinyl)- The latest vehicle for Sam Duckworth's finely developed indie pop sensibilities builds on the sturdy foundations laid down by last year's impressive solo set,"The Mannequin." A pleasing sense of urgency underpins much of Sam's songwriting here , with echoes of early Blur surfacing in stand-out tracks such as "Daylight Robbery" and "The Real McCoy." Hip hop MC Jehst guests on "The Long And Short Of It All," a short and snappy example of Duckworth's eclectic approach to music-making.
Roy Young,"1959-1962 Complete Singles Collection" (Angel Air SJPCD 399)- An interesting archive anthology from the ever dependable Angel Air , chronicling the vinyl output of one of the forgotten heroes of British rock'n'roll. Roy Young's penchant for homespun boogie woogie spawned some excellent singles in the years before The Beatles came along and re-shaped the face of popular music forever, including an excellent re-vamp of Little Richard's "Slippin' and Slidin'." The dynamic piano player was allegedly invited to join the young moptops during their time in Hamburg, but he rather unwisely declined their offer and the rest,as the well worn old cliche goes,is history.