The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
Ian Matthews, "If You Saw Thru' My Eyes / Tigers Will Survive" (Esoteric ECLEC 2360/2361)- These softly beguiling solo albums first saw the light of day in the early seventies,appearing on the Vertigo label in the aftermath of Ian's departure from "Woodstock" hit-makers Matthews Southern Comfort.The singer-songwriter's 1971 debut,"If You Saw Thru' My Eyes" is much the better of the two offerings,boasting some fine self-penned songs alongside covers of Richard Farina's "Morgan The Pirate" and "Reno Nevada," with invaluable instrumental support supplied by Matthews' old Fairport Convention sidekicks Sandy Denny and Richard Thompson.
"The Girl Can't Help It" (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 148)- The past few years have seen Fantastic Voyage release a string of highly listenable fifties anthologies, and their latest anthology is a 3 CD set featuring memorable performances from many of the acts who appeared on the soundtrack of Jayne Mansfield's 1956 movie, "The Girl Can't Help It." Rock luminaries such as Little Richard, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran all make telling contributions to the proceedings, and the astute compilers have also found space for gems such as the sultry Julie London's "Cry Me A River," The Platters' "The Great Pretender" and Eddie Fontaine's classic "Nothin' Shakin' (But The Leaves On The Trees)."
WT Feaster Band,"Juggling Dynamite" (Mystic MYS CD 209)- Robust,uncomplicated blues-rock is the order of the day as guitarist Travis Feaster and his highly capable cohorts unveil their new Mystic album,"Juggling Dynamite." Feaster's refreshingly understated approach to music-making finds its fullest expression in prime cuts such as "Found Yourself," "The Road Is Mine" and "About Time" and the eclectic Indiana quartet also turn in an impressive revamp of Bob Marley's "Is This Love" as they build on the firm foundations laid down by their well received 2010 set,"Wish You Well."
Anthony Moore, "Flying Doesn't Help / World Service" (Retroworld FLOATM6163)- Moore is best remembered these days for his determinedly avant-garde musical exploits with outfits such as Henry Cow and Slapp Happy during the mid-seventies,but this CD re-issue focusses attention on his subsequent solo output,reviving the contents of two albums that captured the maverick musician at his most accessible. The contents strike an oddly appealing balance between off the wall experimentation and almost naive tunefulness,with "Judy Get Down," "Timeless Strange" and "World Service " emerging as the best of the bunch.
"Snafu" (Angel Air SJPCD407)- The dim and distant year of 1973 found gifted slide guitarist Micky Moody joining forces with original Procol Harum drummer Bobby Harrison to assemble a muscular new outfit influenced by the likes of Little Feat and the Allman Brothers, and "Snafu" was their hugely impressive debut set. The finished product blended elements of rock,funk and country to excellent effect and was a huge hit amongst the critical fraternity, boasting fine tracks such as "Long Gone" and "Country Nest." Commercial success sadly never came their way however, and Snafu finally gave up the ghost after the release of their third album,"All Funked Up," in 1975.