Record Review with Kevin Bryan

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Here are your latest record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.

Si Cranstoun - Old School (Ruf Records). Former busker Si Cranstoun cut his musical teeth performing on the mean streets of central London with ska combo the Dualers but the Sussex-born singer and guitarist has always felt a natural affinity for fifties and sixties rock and r&b, and his latest Ruf album finds Si channelling the infectious spirits of Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson with uniformly excellent results. This largely self-penned throwback to the teen culture of a much more innocent time should be required listening for discerning punters everywhere, and you’d be well advised to lend an ear to life affirming ditties such as Count On Me, Vegas Baby or Old School itself.

Steve Hussey & Jake Eddy - The Miller Girl (Merf Records). This softly beguiling acoustic gem represents the first fruits of what should prove to be a richly rewarding creative collaboration between singer-songwriter Steve Hussey and multi-talented teenage prodigy Jake Eddy, who excels on banjo and a whole host of other string instruments too. Americana has rarely sounded more authentic or appealing, with Hussey striving for honesty and emotional directness on The Miller Girl with uniformly excellent results. Into The Ether and the opening track, Little Shove provide the ideal introduction to the duo’s eclectic sound.

Stars of Rockabilly - (Union Square Music). The bulk of this three-CD set is dominated by some fascinatingly obscure archive recordings from a string of rockabilly artists who were probably never even household names within their own households, but the astute compilers have also included a few genuine classics from the golden age of rock’n’roll to lend a little commercial appeal to the package. Fifties luminaries such as Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison all contribute to the proceedings but the real strength of this anthology lies in the contributions of long forgotten performers such as Sid King & The Five Strings, Groovy Joe Poovey and Bill Lawrence and his Cousins.

Bridget St.John - Fly High (Cherry Red). Dedicated listeners to John Peel’s late night radio show during the late sixties and early seventies would have been very well acquainted with Bridge St. John‘s fragile musings on the human condition, as the singer-songwriter was frequently featured on the programme and was also the first signing to Peel’s Dandelion label when it set up operations in 1969. Commercial success may have sadly eluded her but Bridget

bequeathed a fine body of work to posterity during her all too brief recording career and the best of her vinyl output is gathered together here , alongside an interesting assortment of live tracks,demos, sessions and interviews.