Here are this week’s record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.
Wishbone Ash - Access All Areas (Edsel Records. This splendid audio-visual package captures the original Wishbone Ash line-up in typically fluent form as they celebrated their 20th anniversary with a show at Bristol’s Colston Hall in September 1989. Their short-lived reunion was captured for posterity by the cameras of Central Television and provided a memorable showcase for their distinctive twin lead guitar sound as they served up a finely judged blend of highlights from recent albums and perennial crowd-pleasers, rolling back the years as they launched into Blowin’ Free, Phoenix and The King Will Come.
Los Lobos - Gates of Gold (Proper Records). The one-time Los Angeles garage band may be a little less prolific these days but Los Lobos remain quality music makers, and Gates of Gold must rank as their most accomplished offering in years. This eagerly anticipated follow up to 2010’s Tin Can Trust should appeal to all devotees of Americana at its most gritty and grounded, including a couple of fine Spanish language ditties in the shape of La Tumba and Poquito Para Aqui alongside archetypal Los Lobos creations such as There I Go, Made To Break Your Heart and Gates of Gold itself.
Go Cat Go! - The Essential Rockabilly Collection (Salvo Records). The compilers of this enjoyable four-CD set have stretched the definition of rockabilly far beyond its normal confines in order to put together this 100 track collection, drawing on contributions from the likes of Brenda Lee, Eddie Cochran, The Everly Brothers and Link Wray to name but a few. Devotees of the more authentic elements of the genre are well catered for too however, with the inclusion of a string of fascinating fifties obscurities helping to make this an essential purchase for the sadly diminishing legions of bequiffed punters around the globe.
Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown - The Devil To Pay (Ruf Records). Kim Simmonds formed Savoy Brown in 1965 with the intention of creating a British version of a Chicago blues band, and the gifted singer-guitarist is still spreading the word on behalf of the music that he loves half a century later. Grew Up In The Blues captures the essence of Kim’s approach to his craft, and newcomers to his emotionally charged sound would also be well advised to lend an ear to fine tracks such as Bad Weather Brewing, Oh Rosa and the heartfelt opener, Ain’t Got Nobody.