Our resident music expert brings you his latest recommendations.
PFM,”Paper Charms” (Esoteric Records)- PFM were the first Italian rock band to make a major impact on record buyers in the English speaking world and this fine audio-visual package offers an absorbing introduction to their complex,classically influenced sound. The contents bring together all the recordings that the prog rockers made for the BBC during their creative heyday in the mid seventies,including two complete “In Concert” performances and a selection of extracts from the late lamented “Old Grey Whistle Test,”including renditions of such cerebral crowd-pleasers as “Four Holes in the Ground” and “Mr.Nine ‘till Five.”
Iron Butterfly,”In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” (SALVO CD071)- This expanded collector’s edition of Iron Butterfly’s second hard rock outing is dominated by the full 17 minute version of its iconic title track. Legend has it that creative mainstay and vocalist Doug Ingle was in such an inebriated state when the time came to deliver this rambling epic that he was unable to pronounce its original title of “In The Garden of Eden,” opting instead for the deeply meaningless “In-A Gadda-Da-Vida.” The band weren’t actually aware that their rather aimless and hesitant performance was being captured for posterity at the time ,but the finished product rather inexplicably went on to sell eight million copies in its first year of release, and an edited version of the same track also soared into the higher reaches of the U.S. singles charts.
“Ike & Tina Turner” (Metro Sound & Vision)- Ike and Tina’s partnership may never have been a marriage made in heaven but the dysfunctional duo were one of the hottest acts on the soul circuit during the sixties and early seventies,and this vibrant package captures the content of one of their live shows from February 1971. The classic “River Deep Mountain High” benefits from an energised re-vamp alongside some of the distinctive covers which became the Turners’ trademark ,including “Proud Mary,” “Come Together” and Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.”
Alan James Eastwood,”Seeds” (Cherry Tree Records)-Birmingham born singer-songwriter Eastwood recorded this minor acid folk masterwork for the President label in 1971,joining forces with producer Mike Cooper to create an album which mined a rich vein of poetic introspection with the soulful intensity of a Richie Havens. Alan’s sterling efforts were sadly greeted with total indifference four decades ago but this highly prized vinyl artefact is now available on CD for the first time, giving inquisitive listeners another opportunity to experience the subtle delights of Richard Hewson’s string quartet arrangements on stand-out tracks such as “She’s Getting Married in August,” “Evenin’ Rain” and “Hymn For Today.”
Stooshie,”Stydd”-This excellent four piece band have been peddling their own inimitable brand of folk fare around the clubs and festivals of their native Cumbria since their formation in late 2008,and “Stydd” marks their first CD release since 2009’s “The Grain.” Stooshie’s beguiling blend of ancient and modern musical influences was initially dominated by instrumental pieces but a few well chosen songs have now inveigled their way into their repertoire too, including Pete Leeson’s evocative “Along The Shore” and a Victorian murder ballad entitled “Rain and Snow,” and Rachel Swift’s fluid and inventive contributions on violin should be required listening for roots music fans everywhere.