Kevin Bryan’s record review - 9th January

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

Jimmie Dale Gilmore, “Jimmie Dale Gilmore/Fair & Square” (Floating World FLOATM6147)- This Texan singer and songwriter was arguably one of the founders of the alternative country movement, joining forces with kindred spirits Joe Ely and Butch Hancock to put together a memorable but criminally under promoted album which sadly sank without a trace when it was first released in 1973 This CD re-issue couples the two solo sets that Gilmore recorded for High Tone Records a decade and a half later, with his expressive tenor voice captured at its most affecting on songs such as “Honky Tonk Masquerade,” “Dallas” and “Rain Just Falls.”

Led Zeppelin, ”Celebration Day” (Atlantic/Swan Song 8122 79688 2)-December 2007 found a reunited Led Zeppelin performing a benefit concert at London’s O2 Arena, with sadly deceased drumming powerhouse John Bonham replaced by his son Jason in the only change from the line-up which helped to re-shape the face of rock music during the late sixties and early seventies. Devotees who weren’t able to lay their hands on a ticket for this massively over-subscribed event can now luxuriate in the delights of this 2CD/2DVD souvenir of the great day, boasting hugely impressive performances of classic Led Zep creations such as “Dazed and Confused,” “Kashmir” and the multi layered “Stairway To Heaven” from the rejuvenated rock behemoths.

Beth Nielsen Chapman, ”The Mighty Sky” (Proper/BNC BNCCD004)-American singer-songwriter Chapman describes this unusual new concept album as “a collection of songs about astronomy for children of all ages,”but she certainly doesn’t overstay her welcome,as the whole shebang has an overall playing time of just over half an hour. The wonders of the cosmos are revealed to the enquiring listener via a beguiling blend of spoken word passages and eclectic musical contributions, including the Cajun tinged “Zodiacal Zydeco” and infectious singalongs such as “The Big Bang Boom” and “The Way That We Lean.”

Edgar Winter, ”Anthology” (Talking Elephant TECD 211)- Edgar Winter is the subject of this entertaining anthology from the good people at Talking Elephant,which focuses attention on the string of highly successful recordings that the multi-talented Texan musician made for Epic Records during the early seventies. Edgar’s exuberant approach to music-making is captured at its most commercial on tracks such as “Keep Playing That Rock’n’Roll,” “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride,” which still remains a staple of the distinctive albino musician’s live act alongside his epic version of John D.Loudermilk’s “Tobacco Road.”

Curved Air, ”Live Atmosphere” (Cherry Red CRVE001)-This compelling package was recorded on the reformed Curved Air’s 2010/11 “Live Atmosphere” tour ,showcasing energised performances of some of the adventurous prog-rock creations which first delighted audiences during the band’s creative heyday forty years ago. Original members Sonja Kristina and Florian Pilkington-Miksa and their three recently recruited cohorts roll back the years with sparkling new versions of old favourites such as “It Happened Today,” “Everdance” and the insidiously memorable ,”Back Street Luv,” which offered Curved Air an unexpected glimpse of chart success when it soared into the higher reaches of the U.K. Top 30 long ago in 1971.