Kevin Bryan’s record reviews - 14th February 2012

Kevin Bryan takes a look at the latest albums catching his eye in his latest Chad record review.

Tommy James & The Shondells, ‘Live! At the Bitter End, New York’ (Angel Air SJPCD 385)

The good people at Angel Air have released a string of interesting Tommy James re-issues during the past few months, but this infectious live set is far and away the most appealing offering that they’ve been involved with to date. The contents were recorded in the intimate surroundings of New York’s Bitter End Club in 1995, and found James and the latest incarnation of The Shondells revisiting some golden moments from his pop heyday from the middle and late sixties, including million-selling ditties such as ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, ‘Mony Mony’ and the mildly psychedelic ‘Crystal Blue Persuasion.’

‘Kris Needs presents...Dirty Water 2- More Birth of Punk Attitude’ (Year Zero YZLDD010)

The title of this eclectic anthology may be a little on the unwieldy side but its musical content is endlessly rewarding, drawing on contributions from performers such as Captain Beefheart, Woody Guthrie, David Bowie and The Velvet Underground to present a vivid insight into the diverse influences which helped to shape the development of the punk ethos during the mid seventies. Veteran rock journalist Kris Needs was responsible for bringing together this colourful parade of musical mavericks for your listening pleasure, and he also penned the highly informative book which forms part of this excellent two CD package.

Barb Jungr, ‘The Man in the Long Black Coat’ (Linn AKD 386)

This peerless cabaret singer’s 2002 album, ‘Every Grain of Sand’ established Barb Jungr as one of the world’s finest interpreters of Bob Dylan’s work, and every recording that she’s released on Linn Records since than has boasted its quota of inspired Dylan covers. She has now decided to mark the great man’s 70th birthday by bringing them all together on one CD, with the added bonus of four new re-shapings of timeless gems such as ‘With God On Our Side’ and the perenially poignant ‘Sara’ Barb is at her most affecting when she resists the temptation to experiment with overtly elaborate arrangements and serves up simple,unadorned performances such as ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’ or ‘It Ain’t Me Babe.’

Berlin Philharmonic / Kempe / Tortelier, ‘Richard Strauss: Don Quixote’ (Regis RRC 1371)

This splendid archive recording from the late fifties finds the Berlin Philharmonic and French cellist Paul Tortelier immersing themselves in the dissonant delights of ‘Don Quixote,’ the great Richard Strauss tone poem which chronicles the eccentric knight’s deluded adventures via a sublime blend of humour and pathos.As an added bonus the CD also features masterly performances of two more of the composer’s orchestral masterworks, ‘Till Eulenspiegel’ and ‘Don Juan’ from the same year of 1958.

John Du Cann, ‘The Many Sides Of - 1967 to 1980’ (Angel Air SJPCD 383)

The late John Du Cann is probably best remembered these days as the singer and guitarist who fronted the excellent Atomic Rooster during the early seventies, sharing the limelight with demon organist Vincent Crane as they served up chart successes such as ‘Tomorrow Night’ and ‘Devils Answer.’ These classic prog-rock hits are the pick of this interesting anthology, which also features examples of John’s work with lesser known outfits such as The Attack, Andromeda, Bullet and Hard Stuff.