Here are this week’s latest record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.
Status Quo - The Very Best of the Early Years (Metro Select). This historically interesting package focuses attention on Quo’s early vinyl output, showcasing the pick of their Pye recordings from the late 60s and early 70s alongside some choice offerings from theirearlier incarnations as The Spectres and Traffic Jam. The band’s brief flirtation with psychedelia is represented by their 1967 hit Pictures of Matchstick Men and the remarkably similar follow-up Black Veils of Melancholy, with robust tracks such as Railroad, Tune To The Music and In My Chair supplying early examples of the no-nonsense boogie which would become their trademark in the decades to come.
Lindisfarne - Access All Areas (Edsel Records). Lindisfarne brought their unique brand of Geordie bomhomie to the studios of Central Television in 1990, where they regaled their Nottingham audience with a finely judged blend of old favourites and selections from their then current album, Amigos. This had been very well received but moustachioed frontman Ray Jackson was on the verge of leaving the fold nonetheless, so this enjoyable audiovisual package gives devotees of the band one final opportunity to experience the original Lindisfarne line-up in their natural element as they transcend their sterile surroundings to deliver perennial crowd-pleasers such as Fog on the Tyne, Lady Eleanor” and the infectious Meet Me On The Corner.
Please Mr.Disc Jockey - The Atlantic Vocal Group Sound (Fantastic Voyage). R&B specialist Clive Richardson’s latest Fantastic Voyage retrospective explores the wealth of sublime vocal talent which could be found on New York’s legendary Atlantic label during the 50s and early 60s. The 90-track compilation serves up a vibrant blend of rhythm and blues, doo wop and early soul culled from the illustrious back catalogues of The Drifters, Coasters, Clovers and many of their lesser known contemporaries, including Atlantic classics such as Money Honey, Down In The Alley and Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
Bill Wyman - White Lightnin’ (Edsel Records). Bass player Bill Wyman was the first Rolling Stone to record an album in his own right, and Edsel’s new box set features this laconic character’s solo output from 1974 to 1992, along with a DVD boasting a recently recorded interview and a selection of promo videos and TV clips. Wyman is no great shakes as a vocalist but the two albums that he recorded in the seventies certainly repay closer invesigation, with Monkey Grip and Stone Alone boasting guest appearances from a star-studded backing line-up including Lowell George, Van Morrison, Joe Walsh and Leon Russell, to name but a few.