Kevin Bryan's Record Reviews

First published in NewsXtra

The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.

West,Bruce & Laing, "Why Dontcha" (Esoteric ECLEC2334)- America's Mountain were one of the early seventies' most potent and compelling rock acts, and when the band broke up in 1972  guitarist Leslie West and drummer Corky Laing  hit upon the bright idea of reviving the power trio format which had proved so successful for Cream a few years earlier. The two musicians joined forces with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce to form West,Bruce and Laing,and "Why Dontcha" represented the first fruits of their short lived musical alliance. A  glaring shortage of really strong material meant that the album never really rose above the level of the workmanlike,although discerning rock fans would still be well advised to lend an ear to stand-out tracks such as "Third Degree," "Pollution Woman" and "Love Is Worth The Blues."

 


                  "Debussy Piano Edition" (Decca 478 3690)- A string of top notch classical performers have contributed to this extensive keyboard anthology,released to mark the 150th anniversary of Claude Debussy's birth. Many of this inventive French composer's finest creations are given an airing during the 6 CD set, with  impressionistic pieces such as "Deux Arabesques," "Suite Bergamesque" and "Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune"  providing richly rewarding vehicles for the  interpretative skills of  virtuosos like Zoltan Kocsis and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

                 Allan Yn Y Fan, "Pwnco" (Steam Pie SPCD1016S)-The latest studio set from Welsh folkies Allan Yn Y Fan divides fairly equally between evocative ballads and sprightly dance tunes, although the lyrical content of much of  their material may be fairly incomprehensible to those of us who were born  east of Offa's Dyke . Lead vocalist and demon fiddler Meriel Field  is in particularly fine fettle throughout,and an uplifting  brass section  insinuates itself into the proceedings on a couple of occasions  before this highly listenable  album  draws to a close with G.C.Westcott's  captivating new setting of the familiar  old  lullaby,"Twinkle Twinkle (Little Star)."


                 "Honky Tonkin '- 87 Tracks from the Golden Years of Country Music" (Fantastic Voyage FVTD114)- The contents of this 3 CD package span the years between 1937 and 1960, showcasing  some of  the homespun   ditties which would have been heard in the honky-tonks and bars of America's southern states during that  increasingly dim and distant era. Nashville  legends such as Hank Williams,George Jones and Patsy Cline rub shoulders with some   obscure performers who probably weren't even  household names in their own households in this enjoyable celebration of country music at its most direct and uncomplicated.

 

                 "Greatest Ever! - Prog Rock - The Definitive Collection" (Union Square  GTSTCD067)- This 3CD set doesn't quite deliver  the definitive musical experience suggested by its rather overblown title,  but Union Square's  trawl through the archives has yielded quite a few bona-fide gems nonetheless , including memorable offerings from the likes of Yes, Caravan, Curved Air and Steve Winwood's Traffic. Blue Oyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and Jefferson Airplane's  iconic "White Rabbit" may have very little  in common  with prog rock but they're also given a welcome airing, and the compilers have also found space for Robert Wyatt's  "O Caroline,"  the touchingly lovelorn highlight of the short-lived  Matching Mole's 1972 debut album

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