The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
Saw Doctors, "2525:The Best of the Saw Doctors Vol.II" (Shamtown Records)- Founder members Leo Moran and Davy Carton have now guided the various incarnations of the Saw Doctors through a quarter of a century of exemplary music-making, and they've chosen to mark this significant milestone with the release of "2525." The contents feature many of the easy on the ear anthems which have helped the Irish rockers to establish themselves as a major musical institution in their homeland, including "Red Cortina," "N17" and an affectionate cover of Petula Clark's "Downtown," with the veteran vocalist herself chipping in on vocals to bestow her stamp of approval on the proceedings.
Bobby Hackett,"More Ingredients" (Retrospective RTR 4208)- American jazz musician Bobby Hackett is the subject of this new Retrospective anthology, which draws on a selection of recordings made by the clarinettist and trumpeter between 1938 and 1960. The gentle intimacy of Hackett's sound is captured in collaborations with jazz luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Jack Teagarden,and he also underpins the great Frank Sinatra's vocal exploits on an exquisite 1947 performance of Gershwin's "I've Got A Crush On You" from Axel Stordahl's orchestra.
Wolfgang Holzmair/Imogen Cooper,"Schubert : Song Cycles" (Decca 478 4272)- This 4 CD celebration of Austrian baritone Holzmair's long standing partnership with pianist Imogen Cooper is dominated by their interpretations of Schubert's three great song cycles,"Die Schoene Muellerin," "Winterreise" and "Schwanengesang." The duo are in typically empathic form throughout these splendid archive recordings,and as an added bonus the compilers at Decca have also included an equally compelling disc of Beethoven and Schumann Lieder, including the latter's "Liederkreis" and "Dichterliebe."
"Songs for Desert Refugees" (Glitterhouse GRCD 739)- All proceeds from sales of this fascinating anthology will be passed on to two NGO's who are working to ease the plight of refugees displaced by the current conflict in northern Mali. The names of the participants may not be too familiar to the average record-buyer but these gifted musicians from Mali,Niger and Algeria certainly deserve the widest possible exposure. Tamikrest, Bombino and Saharan mega-stars Tinariwen supply the highlights of an excellent set.
Barb Jungr,"Stockport to Memphis"(Naim naimcd179)- This stylish cabaret performer's stunning interpretative skills are apparently best savoured in a live context,but the Rochdale born chanteuse has also recorded a string of critically acclaimed studio albums over the years ,and her latest Naim CD features several self-penned songs alongside some of the unique cover versions which have become her trademark. Joni Mitchell's "River," The Zombies' "She's Not There" and The Waterboys' "Fisherman's Blues" are all given the distinctive Jungr treatment,with the jazzy title tune ranking as the best of Barb's own material.