The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
The Primitives, "Echoes and Rhymes" (Elefant ER-1163)- The Coventry quartet resurrect their recording career after an absence of more than two decades with the release of this easy on the ear collection for Spain's Elefant Records. All the tracks featured here were originally performed by female lead vocalists in the sixties and the vast majority of them fit firmly into the obscure category, although Tracy Tracy and her cohorts do turn in a fine version of Sandy Posey's 1967 hit "A Single Girl" as well as tackling long forgotten ditties from the likes of Adam and Eve, The She Trinity and French pop starlet Laura Ulmer.
Conway Twitty, "Lonely Blue Boy" (Righteous / Cherry Red PSALM23:67) - He may always have been a country balladeer at heart but rock'n'roll seemed to offer a much more lucrative career path for the artist formerly known as Harold Jenkins when he first set out to seek fame and fortune in the late fifties. This splendid CD re-issue from Cherry Red couples two of the Mississippi born vocalist's MGM albums from those far-off days, showcasing Twitty's self-penned 1958 chart-topper "It's Only Make Believe" and an eclectic array of covers including "Heartbreak Hotel," "You'll Never Walk Alone" and Ray Charles' "Hallelujah, I Love Her So."
Wilhelm Kempff, " The Complete Solo Recordings" (D.G. 479 0014)- This very weighty classical anthology extends over a grand total of 35 CDs and serves up a very absorbing and comprehensive overview of Wilhelm Kempff's solo output. The German born pianist explored many of the finest works in the keyboard repertoire during the course of his long and illustrious career and always seemed to be particularly comfortable with the music of Beethoven and Schubert. Both composers are well represented here, and Kempff also delivers his peerless interpretations of Bach's "Goldberg Variations" and pieces penned by giants of the genre such as Brahms,Mozart,Chopin,Liszt and Schumann.
Ian Hunter, "The Singles Collection 1975-83" (Cherry Red GLAM CDD 132)- This memorable 2CD set brings together the contents of all the singles that Shropshire born Hunter recorded for CBS and Chrysalis after his departure from Mott the Hoople in the mid seventies. "Once Bitten Twice Shy," "Ships" and the anthemic "Cleveland Rocks" are the pick of a fun filled package which boasts contributions from rock luminaries such as John Cale, Clarence Clemons,and Mick Ronson,the one-time Bowie guitarist who forged a close working relationship with Hunter which sadly ended with his untimely death from liver cancer in 1993.
Carole King, "The Legendary Demos" (Hear Music/Decca)- Carole King is best remembered these days for "Tapestry," the superb 1971 album which emerged when the singer-songwriter movement was at the height of its popularity, and went on to become one of the most commercially successful recordings of all time. This fascinating CD features Carole's early versions of several gems from that groundbreaking collection, along with her hitherto unreleased demos of some of the bona fide pop classics that King penned when she worked as a staff writer in New York's celebrated Brill Building ,including The Everly Brothers' "Crying in the Rain, " Bobby Vee's "Take Good Care Of My Baby" and The Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday."