American Music Library-The Hits of 1961 (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 201)-This interesting new series of anthologies focusses attention on tracks which were sizeable hits in the U.S. of A. but failed to make any impression at all commercially on this side of the Atlantic. 1961 seems to have been a notable year for inexplicable flops,as witnessed by the presence here of timeless gems such as The Shirelles’ Dedicated To The One I Love, Ben E.King’s Spanish Harlem and The Marvelettes’ Please Mr. Postman to name but a few. The 3 CD set indulges in a feast of unashamed nostalgia as it serves up a charmingly dated assortment of pop,country and r&b hits for your entertainment,including everything from bluesman Freddy King’s classic instrumental Hideaway to country legend Patsy Cline’s Crazy and I Fall To Pieces.
The Everly Brothers, Stories We Could Tell / Pass The Chicken & Listen (Morello/Cherry Red MRLL 35)-Don and Phil Everly may have enjoyed a notoriously fractious personal relationship but their heartfelt vocal harmonies graced a string of superb albums over the years,and these 1972 offerings must rank amongst their finest musical creations. Stories We Could Tell was a particularly impressive effort,with rock luminaries such as Ry Cooder,Warren Zevon and Messrs. Crosby and Nash underpinning the distinctive duo’s efforts as they tackled melodic gems such as Rod Stewart’s Mandolin Wind, Dennis Linde’s Ridin’ High and the self-penned Green River.
John Martyn, Well Kept Secret (Esoteric ECLEC 2445)-This uncharacteristically hard edged and aggressive offering wasn’t universally well received by the critical fraternity when it first saw the light of day in 1982,and the contents were certainly a far cry from the elusive and experimental sound that Martyn had perfected a decade or so earlier via albums such as Solid Air and Inside Out. Open minded listeners should find much to savour and enjoy here however,including the radio friendly Hung Up and Could’ve Been Me and a sublime cover of the late great Johnny Ace’s r&b classic Never Let Me Go featuring jazzman Ronnie Scott on eloquent sax.
Luke Daniels, What’s Here What’s Gone (GAELCD014)-Glasgow based folk performer Luke Daniels is best known for his skills as a melodeon player.having worked as a soloist on the film soundtracks of Peter Jackson’s two Tolkien epics and as a regular member of the Cara Dillon Band. He’s now decided to reveal his hitherto hidden talents as a singer-songwriter via this immaculately crafted new CD, skilfully interweaving elements of folk,blues and gospel as he sets out his highly personal musical manifesto via fine tracks such as In Our Hearts, What She Means and All My Dreams.