Record Review with Kevin Bryan

Edie Brickell and Steve Martin
Edie Brickell and Steve Martin

Here are the latest record reviews from Kevin Bryan.

Steve Martin & Edie Brickell - So Familiar (Rounder Records).­ The rather unlikely collaboration between singer­/songwriter Edie Brickell and actor, comedian and banjo ace Steve Martin has already spawned one excellent album in the shape of 2013’s Love Has Come For You, and the eagerly anticipated follow-­up is another fine piece of work, expertly produced by the redoubtable Peter Asher with a supporting cast including top session men such as Bela Fleck and veteran bassist Leland Sklar. The Texan duo’s pairing was obviously a musical marriage made in heaven, with Martin’s expressive five­string banjo work illuminating stand­out tracks such as Always Will, I Had A Vision and So Familiar itself.

Motor City ­- The Motown Vocal Group Sound (Fantastic Voyage).­ This fascinating 3CD set brings together some of the finest vocal performers who recorded for Motown founder Berry Gordy during the early years of his hugely influential musical empire, drawing on recordings made for a variety of Detroit labels during the late 50s and early 60s. Familiar names such as The Miracles, The Temptations and Marvin Gaye all make an appearance but astute compiler Laurence Cane­Honeysett has also found space for a string of vibrant obscurities from the likes of The Satintones, The Voice Masters and The Falcons, the latter featuring a youthful Eddie Floyd of Knock On Wood fame.

Glen Campbell - Access All Areas (Edsel Records)­. This easy on the ear audio­visual package was recorded at Doncaster’s Dome venue in 1990, and finds country/­pop balladeer Campbell regaling his receptive Yorkshire audience with some choice extracts from his illustrious back catalogue. His richly rewarding creative collaboration with songwriter Jimmy Webb is particularly well represented by gems such as Galveston, By The Time That I Get To Phoenix and the classic Wichita Lineman, and the Arkansas-born musician also chips in with a fine cover of Ralph McTell’s Streets of London.

Johnny Winter - A Rock’n’Roll Collection (Talking Elephant)­. Winter’s bluesy brand of no-holds-barred rock is captured in all its raw and urgent glory in this fine 2CD set, which has been culled from the compelling recordings that the albino guitarist made for the Columbia and Blue Sky labels between 1969 and 1980. The contents deliver a blend of earthy self­penned material and energised re­vamps of much loved oldies such as Chuck Berry’s Thirty Days and Johnny B.Goode, with Rick Derringer’s Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo emerging as another of the musical highlights.