Record Review with Kevin Bryan

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Here are your latest record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.

Sara Watkins - Young In All The Wrong Ways (New West)­. Singer­/songwriter and gifted multi-instrumentalist Sara Watkins is best known for her sterling contributions to the work of the Grammy Award winning acoustic trio Nickel Creek but her solo output is also worthy of close examination, and this new offering must rank as her most powerful to date.

Watkins actually wrote and recorded the entire album during a period when she was without a record label, so we should all be grateful that New West Records came along to provide an outlet for memorable exercises in insightful self­expression such as Without A Word, One Last Time or the deliciously melancholy The Love That Got Away.

Steamhammer - Mountains (Esoteric/Cherry Red)­ British blues­rockers Steamhammer captured Mountains for posterity during the summer of 1970, serving up a fine fusion of prog rock and electric blues which provided an excellent vehicle for the talents of criminally under-rated guitarist Martin Pugh. The band were by all accounts at their best in a concert setting and two of the album’s eight tracks were recorded at London’s Lyceum for what was originally intended to be a live album, including their potent cover of Riding On The L&N.

The Art of the Guitar - (Warner Classics).­ This all encompassing celebration of the delights of the classical guitar ranges far and wide in its choice of subject matter, showcasing works by Baroque masters such as Vivaldi and Bach alongside the cream of the Spanish and Latin American repertoire. The list of participants is a genuinely star­-studded one too, with luminaries such as Andres Segovia and Julian Bream captured at the peak of their powers before Angel Romero closes the proceedings with a genuine flourish as he performs Rodrigo’s complete Concierto de Aranjuez in a splendid archive recording with the London Symphony Orchestra dating from 1977.

The Snakes - Live in Europe (Talking Elephant). ­This power packed live set was recorded in autumn 1997 and found guitarists Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden revisiting their Whitesnake days as they tackled the pick of their former band’s back catalogue in close collaboration with keyboardist Don Airey and young Norwegian vocalist Johnny Lande. The latter slipped into the David Coverdale role with surprising ease as the band breathed new life into much loved crowd-

pleasers such as Fool For Your Loving, Ready An’ Willing and Here I Go Again.