Here are the latest record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.
Guy Clark - Boats To Build/Dublin Blues (Morello/Cherry Red Records). Guy Clark’s rare talents as a singersongwriter have sadly never been translated into solid record sales, but the gifted Texan balladeer has soldiered on regardless, and these splendid offerings from the early 90s provide an ideal introduction to this master wordsmith’s perceptive narrative style. Americana and alternative country devotees would be well advised to lend an ear to meticulously
crafted gems such as Dublin Blues, Picasso’s Mandolin and a richly resonant rerecording of The Randall Knife, Clark’s poignant elegy to his dead father, which had first appeared on his 1983 album, Better Days.
Rick Wakeman - Excess All Areas (Edsel Records). Keyboardist Rick Wakeman’s grandiose live shows had become synonymous with some of the worst excesses perpetrated in the name of progrock during his creative heyday in the 70s, but the former Yes stalwart was pursuing a much more pared down approach to musicmaking when the time came to record this splendid audiovisual package in 1990. Rick’s Nottingham audience were treated to a highly musicianly jaunt down memory lane, including some choice extracts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII and a fine new version of the epic Journey To The Centre of the Earth.
Liverpool Sounds: 75 Classics From The Singing City (Fantastic Voyage). This rather bizarre celebration of Liverpool’s musical culture certainly ranges far and wide in its choice of subject matter, drawing on early contributions from The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy Fury alongside offerings from comedians Ken Dodd and Arthur Askey, populist folkies The Spinners and larger than life jazzman George Melly to name but a few. Fury’s Halfway To
Paradise and Wondrous Place are obvious highlights, and the three-CD anthology opens and closes with the A and B sides of The Beatles’ first Parlophone single, Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You.
Ted Nugent - Intensities in 10 Cities (Talking Elephant). This rather unusual live album first saw the light of day in 1981, and featured recordings made during the last ten dates of Ted Nugent’s tour of North America the previous year. What made this package a little out of the ordinary was the fact that none of these tracks had appeared on a Nugent album before, giving the whole package a freshness and intensity which invigorates prime cuts such as My Love Is Like A Tire Iron, Spontaneous Combustion and his rampaging revamp of Land Of A Thousand Dances.