Kevin Bryan’s record review - December 11th

In his latest weekly music review, Kevin Bryan gives us his thoughts on the latest album reviews.

“Screaming and Crying” (Fantastic Voyage FVTD137)- Subtitled “75 Masterpieces by 35 Blues Guitar Heroes,” this fine 3 CD set revives a string of emotionally charged archive performances from many of the leading lights of the genre , drawing on recordings made between 1949 and 1961. Freddy,Albert and B.B.King all make telling contributions to a compelling package which also highlights the diverse talents of luminaries such as T-Bone Walker,Elmore James,Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry,closing with the latter’s classic “Roll Over Beethoven.”

Chris Kenner,”I Like It Like That”(SHOUT 80)- Louisiana born Kenner was one of the leading lights of the New Orleans r&b scene during the late fifties and early sixties,collaborating with the likes of Allen Toussaint and Fats Domino to create infectious uptempo ditties such as “Land of 1000 Dances” and “I Like It Like That.” This entertaining anthology captures the cream of Kenner’s sometimes erratic songwriting output as this stocky son of a preacher emotes his way through long neglected gems like “Packing Up,” “Sick and Tired” and “She Can Dance” with the passion of a man possessed.

Maurizio Pollini, “Chopin: 24 Preludes,Nocturnes,Mazurkas,Scherzo” (D.G.477 9530)- The great Italian pianist has been one of the world’s foremost Chopin interpreters for half a century now, and the veteran virtuoso has decided to mark his 70th birthday by releasing this new recital of the great man’s work. Pollini’s playing has lost little of its clarity and control with the passage of time, and this new Chopin collection forms a fine addition to the impressive body of work that he’s assembled for Deutsche Grammophon over the years.

Beans on Toast, “Fishing For A Thank You” (Xtra Mile Recordings)- Beans on Toast is the alter ego of North London troubadour Jay McAllister, whose endearingly rough and ready approach to music-making is captured in all its shambolic glory on his new Xtra Mile album, “Fishing For A Thank You.” The contents were laid down on analogue tape by Jay and his band within the space of a few days in September, and this carefree character’s witty musings on the human condition are a joy to behold throughout, with “Beer and a Burger,” “Rainydays” and “The Apple of Eden” emerging as three of the stand-out tracks.

Hotlegs,”You Didn’t Like It Because You Didn’t Think Of It” (Grapefruit CRSEG024)- Future 10cc mainstays Kevin Godley, Eric Stewart and Lol Creme released Hotlegs’ first and last album in March 1971 in what proved to be a vain attempt to capitalise on the unexpected success of their worldwide novelty hit,”Neanderthal Man.” This memorable percussive experiment had little in common with the rest of the set however, as the trio served up an appetising selection of slickly crafted pop rock creations which has been expanded here with the inclusion of every other track that was issued in the group’s name during Hotlegs’ brief existence. The Beach Boys’ influenced “All God’s Children” and Godley’s exquisite”Fly Away” are the best of the bunch.