CD Lowdown by Kevin Bryan

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IN the latest of his regular series of reviews, music correspondent Kevin Bryan tells us what’s hot and not in the album world.

Chicken Shack, ‘100 Ton Chicken’ (Talking Elephant TECD202)

Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack were one of the leading lights of the British blues boom during the late 60s and “100 Ton Chicken” was the group’s third album,recorded shortly after Christine Perfect had left the fold to pursue a solo career in 1969. Perfect would go on to achieve worldwide fame with Fleetwood Mac but her former colleagues were much less successful in their attempts to fashion a heavier and more commercial sound in the aftermath of her departure ,although “Tears in the Wind” did supply them with a minor hit and they also turned in highly competent covers of tunes such as Clarence Carter’s “Weekend Love” and Davy Graham’s “Anji.”

Robin Trower, ‘Roots and Branches’ (Manhaton HATMAN 2030)

The former Procol Harum guitarist has slowly but surely slipped out of the public eye since recording a string of highly atmospheric albums for Chrysalis Records during the mid-70s but his passion for music-making remains undimmed, and his latest Manhaton CD features revamps of some of the classic blues and R n’ B creations which inspired this gifted performer during his formative years. ‘Hound Dog’, ‘Little Red Rooster’ and ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ are all given an airing in the process, and Trower’s distinctive guitar work is thankfully still just as fluid,intense and inventive as ever.

‘Maurice Ravel: Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Sonata for Violin and Violoncello’ (Haenssler CD 98.002)

This fine new CD provides an absorbing vehicle for the combined talents of violinist Lena Neudauer and pianist Paul Rivinius as they showcase some of the eclectic French composer’s most impressive chamber music creations. The undoubted highlight of the package is the dazzling ‘Tzigane’ and the duo also join forces with cellistJulian Steckel for another of Ravel’s most influential compositions, 1922s lean and economical ‘Sonata for Violin and Violoncello’.

‘Cadillac Cuties and Hot Rod Heroes’ (Fantastic Voyage FVDD 147)

The gas guzzling automobile became one of the most potent symbols of personal freedom in 50s America, and the burgeoning music business wasn’t slow to capitalise on the fact, with seemingly every songwriter in the land penning their paeans of praise to the delights of a life on the open road. This new two CD anthology brings together 50 of the era’s most engaging car-related anthems , including Bo Diddley’s ‘Road Runner’, Chuck Berry’s ‘You Can’t Catch Me’ and Jackie Brenston’s classic ‘Rocket 88’.

The Getaway Plan,’Requiem’ (Warner Music/UNFD)

Alternative Aussie rockers The Getaway Plan have returned to the fray after a self-imposed two-year hiatus with a new album which represents a marked progression from their well received debut set, ‘Other Voices,Other Rooms’. The band have obviously made a conscious attempt to marry their natural flair for experimentation with a much more radio friendly approach to songwriting, with tracks such as ‘Flying Colours’, ‘Move Along’ and ‘The Reckoning’ capturing their drama laden sound at its most immediate and compelling.