Kevin Bryan’s record reviews

editorial image

The Waterboys,

“Out Of All This Blue”

(BMG Records)

It can often seem as if The Waterboys were created simply to provide a useful outlet for the fevered musical outpourings of perennial frontman Mike Scott, and “Out Of All This Blue” must rank as the most eclectic and wide-ranging offering that he

and they have been involved with during the band’s 34-year existence.

This glorious throwback to the golden age of the double album was captured for posterity over a two-year period at studios in

Dublin and Tokyo, with elements of country, soul and r&b informing archetypal Scott epics such as 
“Nashville,Tennessee” and the eight-minute plus “Morning Came Too Soon.”

Starsailor,

“All This Life”

(Cooking Vinyl)

This fine post Britpop outfit have finally returned to the fray after a lengthy self-imposed hiatus with the release of “All This Life,” the first new Starsailor album since 2009’s “All The Plans.”

The finished product is unlikely to scale the heady heights of chart success enjoyed by their early output at the turn of the 21st century, but devotees of the band’s melancholic and expansive sound should enjoy the anthemic delights of stand-out tracks such as “Love Is Here” and “Sunday Best” nonetheless.

Van Morrison,

“Roll With The Punches” (Caroline International)

Van Morrison has carved out a unique position for himself in the rock pantheon during the past 50 years or so with his hypnotic fusion of urgent r&b and spiritual stream of consciousness imagery. and the veteran vocalist’s latest long-playing creation finds this curmudgeonly character paying homage to some of his musical inspirations with all his usual power and passion.

“Roll With The Punches” boasts the great man’s distinctive covers of numbers made famous by the likes of Mose Allison, T-Bone Walker, Sam Cooke and Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins, aided and abetted by contributions from luminaries such as Chris Farlowe, Jeff Beck and Georgie Fame.

“Down Home Blues - Chicago” (Wienerworld)

A string of rare and unreleased tracks dominate this weighty five CD anthology from the good people at Wienerworld. 
As an exploration of the delights of Chicago blues it’s well nigh indispensable, serving up ultra rare offerings from legendary performers such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and innovative harmonica ace Little Walter alongside dozens of gloriously obscure archive gems delivered by the likes of Gray Haired Bill, Big Boy Spires and Birmingham Junior & His Lover Boys.