Kevin Bryan is back with his latest set of reviews on some new releases.
The Damned - Damned Damned Damned (BMG). The Damned’s classic debut set was the first fully fledged punk album to explode onto the market when it first saw the light of day in 1977, and the hugely influential contents have lost little of their energy and freshness in the interim. This newly remastered re-issue captures the raw essence of their heady approach to music-making via manically energised exercises in adrenalin-fuelled rock such as Neat Neat Neat and the perenially popular New Rose.
Mutterissimo - The Art of Anne-Sophie Mutter (Deutsche Grammophon). This wide-ranging anthology focusses attention on the peerless artistry of classical violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, drawing on recordings made for the prestigious D.G. label between 1988 and 2015. The contents are evenly divided between charming small scale pieces such as Kreisler’s Schon Rosmarin and Mendelssohn’s Fruhlingslied and evocative extracts from much more expansive violin
concertos by the likes of Beethoven, Dvorak and Igor Stravinsky to name but a few, with the former child prodigy in typically commanding form throughout this splendid two-CD set.
Weather Report - Sweetnighter (Talking Elephant). Jazz fusion was all the rage for a few years during the early seventies, and this interesting re-issue focusses attention on the work of one of the leading lights of the genre. Sweetnighter was Weather Report’s fourth album, a 1973 offering which found them experimenting with a more structured and funk orientated sound at the instigation of quirky keyboardist Joe Zawinul. Boogie Woogie Waltz and 125th Street Congress capture the essence of Zawinul and company’s new, slightly more commercial approach to music-making.
Betts, Hall, Leavell and Trucks - Live at the Coffee Pot 1983 (MVD). Allman Brothers guitarist Dickey Betts reacted to their sad demise in 1982 by forming a new outfit with soulful Wet Willie frontman Jimmy Hall and several of his former bandmates, and although they never actually recorded an album together they were by all accounts a very potent live act. This enjoyable new MVD captures their show in Roanoke, Virginia in January 1983, interspersing interview material with energised versions of old Allmans favourites such as Southbound, Jessica and Betts’ best known creation, Ramblin’ Man.