Kevin Bryan’s music review - 6th February 2012

In the second of a regular series of music reviews, Kevin Bryan gives us his views on what’s hot and not in the world of music.

What do you think to the albums? Let us know your views below.

Keb’ Mo’, The Reflection” (Yolabelle YL1211117)

The artist formerly known as Kevin Moore is best known for the highly regarded blues albums that he’s recorded during the past two decades or so, but his latest offering finds the Los Angeles born singer and guitarist operating as a stylish soulman in the mould of Bill Withers or Terry Callier. The Reflection is unlikely to win over too many new converts to Keb’s cause but it’s well worth hearing nonetheless, boasting some fine new songs such as The Whole Enchilada and We Don’t Need It alongside a rather incongruous cover of The Eagles’ country-rock classic One Of These Nights.

Luxuria, Unanswerable Lust / Beast Box (Cherry Red CDTRED 512)

This all embracing 3 CD set brings together expanded versions of the two albums that former Buzzocks and Magazine frontman Howard Devoto recorded with the multi-talented Norman Fisher-Jones during Luxuria’s relatively brief existence, along with an interesting live set capturing their performance at Leicester Polytechnic in March 1988. Devoto’s mannered and slightly sinister creations were never destined to bring him too much in the way of fame and fortune, but devotees of his distinctive brand of music-making should revel in the dubious delights of tracks such as Public Highway and The Beast Box Is Dreaming.

Michel Dalberto, Schubert: Impromptus & Ecossaises (Dal Segno DSPRCD 062)

These newly remastered recordings date from the early nineties, and find French pianist Michel Dalberto tackling Schubert’s Impromptus and a selection of very short dance pieces or Ecossaises. The former were penned in 1827 and form a coherent whole despite the fact that the second set of four keyboard works weren’t published until some time after the composer’s untimely death in the following year. Dalberto is widely acknowledged as one of the classical world’s leading interpreters of Schubert’s music, and he’s in particularly fine fettle throughout this splendid set.

Wailin’ Daddy -The Best of Maxwell Davis 1945-1959” (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 130)

A vibrant new Fantastic Voyage anthology tracing the recording career of Maxwell Davis, who was one of the leading lights of America’s West Coast R&B scene during the immediate post war era but seems to be a largely forgotten figure these days. The contents showcase the cream of Davis’ jazz orientated solo output alongside some fine archive recordings which feature the gifted tenor saxist, arranger and producer as accompanist, including tracks by B.B.King, Charles Mingus,Jimmy Witherspoon and Louis Jordan to name but a few. Splendid stuff.

Strawbs, Acoustic Gold (Witchwood wmcd 2052)

Acoustic Gold serves up unplugged arrangements of a dozen of the highly distinctive songs which helped to cement the Strawbs’ reputation as one of the finest bands to emerge from the British folk-rock scene during the late sixties and early seventies. Frontman Dave Cousins’ vocals have always been one of the most distinctive features of The Strawbs’ sound, and he injects a little drama into what is essentially a low-key collection with an impassioned rendition of The Man Who Called Himself Jesus. Dave’s former colleague Rick Wakeman also revisits a couple of tracks from his short stint with the band in the shape of “Witchwood” and the uplifting A Glimpse of Heaven, setting the seal on an excellent musical package.