Rock & Pop


Melinda Ortner - StrangersCalifornian born singer-songwriter Melinda Ortner’s debut four-track EP, Strangers features a wide range of the material, from the brooding title track to the infectious Sweet Little Lies. The singer’s words have an almost naked honesty about them, as if she is soundtracking the human condition, and her soulful voice is both strong and vunerable as it aches, pulsates and often downright seduces. The title track opens with a mournful cello before developing into a dark slice of electric pop whilst Ortner delivers an intoxicating, icy vocal that compels you into her world. Wait Another Day has the same compulsive intensity, whereas Sweet Little Lies is a light, bouncy and almost jazzy number despite its dark lyrics. The final song, Somethin’ Sorry, is a wonderful slice of melodic piano based pop rock, complete with a stunning vocal and a delightfully contagious organ riff. Melinda Ortner has toured internationally, including more than fifty dates in the UK as well as shows around Europe and Japan.


Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, emerging primarily in the southern United States in the early 1950s. The term rockabilly is a portmanteau word combining rock (from rock ‘n’ roll) and hillbilly, a style of country music. Other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie woogie, and rhythm and blues. The influence and popularity of the style waned in the 1960s, but during the late 1970s and early 1980s, rockabilly enjoyed a major revival of popularity that has endured to the present day. Steve Hooker is best known for his stagecraft as guitarman for garage trashers The Shakers, Morrissey and Polecats mainman Boz Boorer. He has shared stages with Chuck Berry and Johnny Thunders and has toured relentlessly since the 70s throughout Europe and across to New York and Japan. This new reissue of his 2001 album, Don’t Try To Understand 'Em, features six more great rockabilly tracks. Highlights include the excellent Leather Heart and Dollar Short. See more Steve Hooker releases, including his new single, Wicked Blues.


One of the true giants (quite literally, in fact) of Soul and old-school R&B, the late Solomon Burke enjoyed a deserved career Renaissance in the ten years before his death in 2010. In a career of over 50 years he released 38 studio albums (selling 17 million copies) and had more than 35 chart hits. Rolling Stone included him in its 2008 list of ‘Greatest Singers of All Time’ and he was a major influence on artists as varied as Otis Redding and The Rolling Stones. Ol’ Sol was also a classic showman, his concerts celebratory affairs with the Big Man seated in a huge golden throne, as befitted the ‘King of Rock ‘n’ Soul’. This excellent double CD set, The Last Great Concert, features a recording made in Lugano, Switzerland, in December 2008, with Burke fronting an excellent fourteen-piece band. The repertoire magnificently displays the full range of Solomon Burke’s stylistic palette - from smouldering Country Soul and a rousing rock and roll medley (Lucille, Tutti Frutti, etc) to seasonal fare with Silent Night, Holy Night. Highlights include tender interpretations of Georgia On My Mind, Don’t Give Up On Me, and an emotional version of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come. Burke is in terrific form and his band performs with rare power and skill. Solomon Burke’s legacy is a extensive catalogue of great music and this double album makes a fine tribute to one of music’s most distintive and influential vocalists. Other outstanding releases from Floating World label include the previously unissued MAGIC SAM: LIVE 1969 RAW BLUES (FLOATM6151) featuring a guitarist and songer poised on the brink of a major breakthrough if he hadn’t died of a heart attack a few months after this Joe Elyrecording. Sam was highly rated by the likes of Willie Dixon and Eric Clapton, and after his death, the great Paul Butterfield Blues Band played a tribute show in his honour. This classic archive recording more than makes up for sonic shortcomings by the capturing of the intensity of the in-concert Magic Sam experience, including the raw All Your Love and covers of Freddy King instrumental outings such as San-Ho-Zay and Hideaway. JOE ELY: LORD OF THE HIGHWAY / DIG ALL NIGHT (FLOATM6148) brings together two fine albums by one of country rock’s most popular artists. Lord of the Highway (1987) features future guitar hero David Grissom as well as Rolling Stones sax alumni Bobby Keyes and includes the superb Silver City. Dig All Night (1988) is a tougher-rocking album that echoes the high-energy levels of his stage show. JIMMIE DALE GILMORE: FAIR & SQUARE / JIMMIE DALE GILMORE (FLOATM6147) celebrates another great Texas singer-songwriter and fellow Flatlander. This reissue of two of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s solo albums on the High Tone record label in the 1980s features his inimitable vocals set to (in the first instance) some classic honky tonk musical superstructure produced by none other than Joe Ely. Fair and Square is a sawdust and spit collection, with songs by the likes of Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt, David Halley and his other Flatlander colleague Butch Hancock. The self-titled second album features more of Gilmore’s own material on a relatively laid-back selection of performances.


Camille O’Sullivan is a singer and actress as well as an award-winning architect and painter. Born in London to a French mother and Irish father, she grew up in Cork, Ireland, surrounded by music ranging from French chanson, Deep Purple and David Bowie to Led Zeppelin - a soundtrack which inspired her to become one of Ireland’s most interesting artists. As much a storyteller as a singer, she has made songs by Jacques Brel, Nick Cave and Tom Waits her own, and while working in Berlin, she discovered the rich narrative songs of Hans Eisler and Kurt Weill. She has built an international reputation for her distinctive live performances, making her one of the world’s most accessible yet enigmatic performers. Camille O’Sullivan’s first studio album, Changeling, features her interpretations of modern classics as well as less well known songs by the likes of Radiohead, Nick Cave (the desolate Brompton Oratory and The Ship Song) and Arcade Fire (the lovely Wake Up), plus three originals. Othe highlights include Tom Waits’ wonderful All The World Is Green and intensely emotional versions of Gillian Welch’s Revelator and Nine Inch Nails’ devastating Hurt. ‘A cross between Sally Bowles, Patti Smith and P J Harvey… a major star.’ - Scotsman.


Aimee Wilson was born and raised in Tennessee and learned to play guitar at an early age. The songs she began writing in high school had by the end of college in 2004 become her debut album, Timbers Fall. For her triumphant new release, Unto Us the Sun, this unique artist draws on diverse musical roots, from Sacred Harp choral music to Persian and Middle Eastern rhythyms and melodic lines, to produce music of fragile beauty and emotional power. Composing on both sitar and guitar, she creates music that bursts with fresh sounds and vivid engagement with one of America’s oldest musical traditions and with a deeply felt spirituality. She has cut her own path through the wilderness, through the rocky corridors of Philly women’s safe havens or the woods and streams of the rural South. Joined by instruments from the Chinese erhu fiddle to the hurdy gurdy, along with a full Sacred Harp-style vocal ensemble, Wilson’s lush debut album ebbs and flows, united by her delicate yet urgent voice and straightforward, poetic lyrical visions. In complex, globally inflected songs, she chronicles nature’s vivid outbursts, our shared struggles for hope and connection, and the paradoxes that birth real joy. Highlights include Thin Shoes and Royalene, both reflecting her relationship with women who experienced chronic homelessness and mental illness, and the title song, which unfolds musically like a sunrise. Nature awakes into an exultant praise, inviting the listener to join in a chorus of mystical rapture. Celebration evokes a sublime dance of nature, and we are invited to join in primal rhythms to celebrate the deep truth of who we are, which is enveloped in grace. ‘My music is a dialogue with God, as I understand him. It’s a way of getting to something more than myself.’ - Aimee Wilson. Highly recommended.


Canadian-born Tristan Clopet started his musical career at a young age playing gigs in New York. After a summer at Berklee College of Music in Boston he decided to make music his full time career as a singer-songwriter and musician. For his first LP, Name It What You Want, he worked with seasoned producers Raymond Richards and Justin Gerrish to create a ten-song tour-de-force of clever songwriting, lush harmonies and dancing rhythms. The first single, A Chat with my Brain, deals with the paradox of separating oneself from the mind that embodies it. Other highlights on the album include the uptempo opening track, A Summer in Sussex, featuring guitar work and soaring vocals, the excellent When You Were Younger, and the funky Toutes Directions. The 4:45 Through Remembrance is a haunting piece of music inspired a long distance train ride made by Tristan Clopet. On this trip, gazing out the window, his imagination conjures up a life as it unfolds until ‘Ladies and gents, we’ve reached our final destination.’ Superby produced, this is an exuberant and exciting debut by an artist who has been likened to Jeff Buckley, Graham Coxon and Anthony Kiedis. Watch the video


The New York Dolls formed in New York in 1971 and the outrageous rock band’s elemental protopunk sound, influenced by vintage rhythm and blues and the early Rolling Stones, prefigured much of what was to come in the punk rock era. Their visual style also influenced the look of many new wave and 1980s-era glam metal groups, and they began the local New York scene that later spawned the Ramones, Blondie, Television and Talking Heads. In 2004 the band reformed with three of their original members, two of whom, vocalist David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain, continue today. The original bassist, Arthur Kane, died shortly after their first reunion concert. The surviving Dolls have released three highly-acclaimed albums and toured to the kind of crowds that they never played to nearly four decades ago. This CD and DVD set features a live concert from March 2011 recorded in New York City’s Lower East Side, where it all began. This performance captures the band in ferocious form as they make a joyous racket that takes no prisoners. Included in the set are such hoary Dolls favourites as the driving riffs of Private World, Looking For A Kiss, Personality Crisis and Jet Boy, alongside such recently-minted nuggets as Streetcake, ‘Cause I Sez So and I’m So Fabulous, as well as the exuberant Johansen solo-era classic Funky But Chic, all played with a sleazy charm and manic intensity that is pure NYD.


Born Richard Anthony Monsour in Boston in 1937, Dick Dale was raised by a Lebanese father and a Polish mother. Exposure to folk music from both cultures would later influence his groundbreaking brand of surf music which featured Middle Eastern and Eastern European melodies. The family moved to Southern California in the late 50s, introducing young Dick Dale to the extra-curricular activities that changed his life and turned him into The King of the Surf Guitar. His playing style and role in the development of electronic amplification paved the way for heavy metal and has impressed several generations of fans. Quentin Tarantino featured Miserlou in his film Pulp Fiction, which has also been sampled by The Black Eyed Peas, and the great John Peel regularly included Let’s Go Trippin’ on his show. Dale’s left-handed, strung upside-down heavy gauge string, reverb-saturated guitar sound and remorselessly attacking style reaches across the decades by sheer force of will - a classic, elemental rock and roll phenomenon that cannot be denied, much Buddy Millerless ignored. Dale signed to the Hightone Records label for whom he cut this pair of albums: Tribal Thunder (1993) and Unknown Territory (1994). The fire-breathing beast that was Dale’s guitar style was unleashed, a classic style that was utterly his own, and one of massive influence to guitar players world wide. The production values and variety of material show that he is possessed of wit and great taste in his choice of suitable vehicles for his idiosyncratic style. Floating World’s reissue division, Retro World has also released another double CD set, BUDDY MILLER: YOUR LOVE & OTHER LIES & POISON LOVE (FLOATM6132), featuring two albums originally released in 1995 and 1997, also on Hightone. These were Buddy Miller’s first as a soloist - Your Love and Other Lies being actually recorded in his living room, though the high quality production and superb songs belie its humble provenance. Vocal support comes from Miller’s wife, Judy, as well as Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale and Dan Penn. Rocky HillHighlights include Don’t Listen To The Wind and Through The Eyes Of A Broken Heart, as well as a haunting version of the Louvin Brothers song, You’re Running Wild. Poison Love is an unpretentious yet emotionally affecting collection that features a soulful cover of the Southern Soul classic, That’s How Strong My Love Is. Also new from Floating World are AMERICAN AQUARIUM: DANCES FOR THE LONELY (FREEM5037) and ROCKY HILL: LONE STAR LEGEND (FLOATM6137). American Aquarium’s 2009 release features songwriter and bandleader BJ Barham in music, including the brilliant Downtown Girls, that combines Springsteen-esque rock bravado, old school country lyricism and indie rock introspection. Rocky Hill, older brother of ZZ Top bass player Dusty Hill, was a gifted guitar player who learnt his trade first hand from the likes of Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddy King, and Jimmy Reed. Rocky passed away in 2008, largely unsung outside of his Texan birthplace, and Lone Star Legend seeks to redress this by showcasing his supreme guitar, vocal and compositional talents. Originally recorded in 1977 and unreleased until now, the album was produced by John Lomax III and features infectiously raucous, mean-rocking Texan Blues. Highlights include muscular blues versions of songs by David Olney and the great Townes Van Zandt. Highly recommended.


Long before Amy Winehouse came on the scene, Mari Wilson was the beehived ‘Neasden Queen Of Soul’ who first broke through in 1982 with her hit, ‘Just What I Always Wanted’. Wilson went on to have a string of successful records in the Eighties and when the chart hits dried up she switched to jazz, playing at venues such as Ronnie Scott’s alongside legends such as BB King, Stan Getz and Ray Charles.’ For her intriguing new album, funded by fans and an ‘attic sale’ of memorabilia (including posters and glamorous stage dresses), Wilson has teamed up with arranger-pianist Simon Hale to co-produce and record some of her favourite songs. These include stylish interpretations of classics from the likes of the Bee Gees, The Pretenders and Wilson’s friend Kirsty McColl to contemporary songs by Gillian Welch, Caitlin Rose and Ron Sexmith. And, having played Dusty Springfield in Dusty The Musical, we have a Dusty song (a melancholic version of I Only Want to Be With You) recorded by one of the Sixties icon’s biggest fans. Wilson’s rich, soulful voice is at its best in these intimate interpretations of songs that often reveal a touching vulnerability.


American singer Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins in 1938) had a style that spanned many musical genres, from blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel to jazz. Starting her career in the mid-1950s, she had hits such the risqué Roll With Me Henry (recorded when she was only 15) and the magnificent I’d Rather Go Blind, becoming one of the most critically acclaimed and influential female singers of the past 50 years. Her full on approach to both singing and life led her into desperate situations that included violence, drug addiction, armed robbery and highly capricious behaviour. Her singing was driven by emotional hunger and a ferocious pain that reflected her life as a neglected child and a woman experiencing discrimination as well as too many bad relationships. James’s continuing appeal to new generations inspired the R&B superstar Beyoncé to play James in the 2008 film Cadillac Records and British singing sensation Adele has said that it was buying an Etta James CD when she was 13 that made her want to sing. Ms Etta James passed away in January 2012, leaving behind a legacy of some of the finest music of the late twentieth century. The two Etta James - Love's Been Roughalbums featured on this double CD set come from 1994 (Mystery Lady) and 1995 (Time After Time) respectively. Mystery Lady is James’ interpretations of songs closely associated with another legendary Diva, the great Billie Holiday. Etta tackles the material with her customary melismatic grace, but with true respect for the originals. The arrangements also allow her matchless vocal skills, phrasing and timbre free rein. Time After Time digs deep into the Great American Songbook, with songs by Sammy Cahn, Rodgers & Hammerstein and Cole Porter amongst others, rendered with the skill and élan of a consummate interpreter. Floating World Records is also releasing another fine Etta James double CD set featuring the albums LOVES BEEN ROUGH ON ME & LIFE, LOVE & THE BLUES. The first, Love’s Been Rough On Me, was recorded in 1997 and captures the singer at the peak of her powers, with particularly soulful versions of Otis Redding’s I’ve Been Loving You Too Long and John Berry’s country hit, If I Had Any Pride Left At All. Life, Love, and the Blues (1998) is slick, funky, and thoroughly commercial, and includes Willie Dixon’s classic Spoonful. Highly recommended.


The Byrds formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964 and went on to become one of the most influential rock band of the 1960s. Influenced by The Beatles and other British bands, The Byrds pioneered folk rock by bringing together contemporary sounds with traditional folk music. As the 1960s progressed, the band also pioneered psychedelic rock, raga rock and country rock with an irresistible blend of harmony singing and Roger McGuinn’s trademark twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar. Originally released on Together Records in 1969, Preflyte is a collection of demos recorded by the band (then named The Jet Set) at World Pacific Studios in Los Angeles during 1964, before they signed to Columbia Records. The music on the album therefore predates the release of The Byrds’ debut single for Columbia, a cover of Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man. Preflyte has two fascinating early acoustic and electric versions versions of this song as well as Here Without You, the beautiful You Won’t Have to Cry, and I Knew I’d Want You, all of which would later appear in re-recorded form on the band’s 1965 debut album. As well as frontman Roger McGuinn (aka Jim McGuinn), the band primarily consisted of David Crosby and Gene Clark. In 2001, Sundazed Records released an expanded, compilation of 40 tracks from the World Pacific era and now Retroworld has re-released this as a double CD set, including an extra 20 minutes of material only recently found. The whole elegantly redesigned package has been re-mastered and is sure to delight any Byrds fan. The music is wonderfully fresh, original and delicate, showing how The Byrds developed their distinctive jangly style that would prove so successful later.


Teenager of the CenturyLast year, saw The Lights gig extensively and word spread about this up and coming Birmingham band that has been compared to, among others, Elvis Costello, ELO, Belle and Sebastian and the Beautiful South, though their sound is really like nobody else. The result was a host of festival offers in the midlands this summer, including Birmingham’s Artsfest and the Nelson Mandela Festival, as well as many high profile radio sessions around the UK. The band’s much anticipated album, Teenager of the Century, is the culmination of a two year development in which The Lights have honed their music to create a highly polished debut. Produced by the renowned Gavin Monaghan (Travis, Editors & Kings of Leon) the album is a stunning mix of light and shade that sees the band shake off their indie shackles, roaming into folk fields and all underpinned by great melodies, smooth harmonies and the expertise of five musicians who intertwine effortlessly. The Birmingham-based five-piece consists of the brilliant Lizzy Sheils (vocals & keys), Shaun Kelly (vocals & acoustic), Dan Tombs (lead guitar), Gary Worton (bass) and Woz Meadows (drums). Highlights include Sleep Addiction, Sunday Best, the plaintive 18, and No Match for Genevieve (watch video). Highly recommended. ‘… this band is about ready to explode.’ - Indie London.


Quicksilver Messenger Service originally formed in 1965 and quickly became one of the most important rock bands in San Francisco psychedelic scene of the 1960s. With their jazz and classical influences, as well as a strong folk background, the band created a sound that was individual and innovative. Founder member Dino Valenti developed a seductive style that involved hypnotic rhythms and twanging guitars to great effect. Although not as commercially successful as contemporaries Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead, QMS gained wide popularity in the Bay Area and their recordings found favour with psychedelic rock enthusiasts around the world. Culled from several live sets in the classic Quicksilver Messenger Service era of 1966-68, Live From The Summer Of Love captures the remarkable QMS in full early flight, before line-up changes and the fading of the hippie dream put paid to their ambitions. The double CD set features vibrant, warts–and-all performances of such heavily extemporised classics as Mona and The Fool, as well as gutsy versions of Codeine, Dino’s Song and Year Of The Outrage. Musicians include Gary Duncan (guitar and vocals), John Cippolina (guitar), David Freiberg (bass and vocals) and Greg Elmore (drums), with vocalist Jim Murray, and much of the album is from the time before the band signed with Capitol Records.


London-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Anna Calvi grew up being exposed to a multitude of genres of music by her music-loving Italian father. After leaving school, she studied music and eventually joined up with multi-instrumentalist Mally Harpaz and drummer Daniel Maiden-Wood to form her intimate band set-up. Brian Eno called her ‘the biggest thing since Patti Smith’ and Nick Cave invited her to support on tour across Europe. Anna Calvi’s self-titled debut album, co-produced the album with long-term PJ Harvey collaborator Rob Ellis, was released through Domino Records in January 2011. NME gave the album 9 out of 10 stating, ‘this self-titled collection of 10 songs is perhaps the first great record of 2011.’ Uncut magazine said, ‘This isn’t just a great debut. It’s a fearless rejection of current pop trends, fashioning a benchmark of intensity and originality that the rest of this year’s albums will struggle to match.’ Brian Eno sings backing vocals on Desire and Suzanne and I, and other highlights include the atmospheric Rider To The Sea, Love Won’t Be Leaving and the impassioned The Devil. Anna Calvi is a captivating performer and her unique album has been shortlisted for the 2011 Mercury Prize.


Featuring lyrics and vocals by prolific Fife-based singer-songwriter Kenny Anderson (aka King Creosote) sung over subtle musical backdrops arranged and recorded by Jon Hopkins, Diamond Mine is a genuine labour of love, recorded over a number of years without the pressure of deadlines, whenever Jon and KC could get together. The album features instrumental moments as affecting as the lyrical and consists of newly interpreted obscure delights picked out from 20 years of King Creosote’s treasure chest of a back catalogue (he has recorded and self-released over 40 full-length albums since 1995). Intended to be heard as a single experience, Diamond Mine produces a near classical suite of emotion ranging from cracked despair to patched-up euphoria. Described by King Creosote as a ‘soundtrack to a romanticised version of a life lived in a Scottish coastal village’, the record weaves in slices of Fife life, bike wheels, spring tides, tea cups and café chatter to produce a beautiful, unique and timeless album now shortlisted for the 2011 Mercury Prize. Highlights include the delicate opening track, First Watch, as well as the melancholic John Taylor’s Month Away, Bats in the Attic (with female backing vocals), the beautiful Running on Fumes, and the poignant Your Own Spell. Highly recommended.


Grace Barnett Wing was born in 1939 in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, and grew up in Palo Alto, California. As Grace Slick, her name is synonymous with the great Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship. Though not an original member of the band, her importance cannot be underestimated. The magnificent White Rabbit, which she wrote in only about an hour, helped define not only Jefferson Airplane but also the entire acid rock era, and her unconventional vocals on Somebody to Love gave the Airplane its biggest hit. As one of the first female rock stars, she helped redefine women’s role in modern music as more than just a sex symbol backed by a band. Manhole was Grace Slick’s first official solo album credited solely to her (she had previously recorded Sunfighter with Paul Kantner and Baron von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun with Kantner and David Freiberg, both of whom co-produced Manhole). The album was recorded in 1973 and conceived as a soundtrack to a movie, although no such movie was ever made. Slick is in fine voice throughout and the music is dense, macabre, exhilarating and wonderfully spacey. Highlights include the epic Theme From The Movie Manhole, the delicate opening track, Jay, the bluesy Better Lying Down, and the catchy Come Again, Toucan.


Deep spiritual upheavals are only supposed to happen on the road to Damascus, but for top City Finance PR guru Tom Moriarty, the scales fell from his eyes on Threadneedle Street in the mid 2000s when he foresaw the Banking world’s downward spiral towards disaster and had a sudden realisation about what is really important in life. Like caring for a parent with an incurable illness and pursuing the glittering music career which the tutors of LA’s hallowed Music Institute had predicted for him some years earlier. Part bad boy, part protest singer, part romantic, part revolutionary and all denim drainpipes, cowboy boots and gruff, sexy voice, Moriarty has a style that will please admirers troubadors such as John Martyn and Tom Waits - all people with something to say above something to sell. Tom Moriarty says of his classy debut album, Fire In The Doll’s House, that ‘We need to stop for a second and think about what we’re doing and where we’re going, not just in the way the financial system works but how we think about ourselves, how we see ourselves. It’s about focusing on the things that unite us rather than the things that divide us. And actually music is that big common denominator - no matter what your creed or comfort’. Fire In The Doll’s House, superbly produced by ian Grimble, is not simply a damning indictment of Moriarty’s one time City trough scoffers; it is at times sexy, seductive and naughty. Highlights include the opening title track, the funky Smile If You Want To Get High, the anthemic Life’s a Mystery, and the lovely Sundancer.


The beautiful American singer PP Arnold was born Patricia Cole into a family of gospel singers in Los Angeles. She began her musical training at a very young age and became an Ikette as part of the Ike and Tina Turner Review in the mid-1960s, singing backing vocals on the classic River Deep Mountain High. After coming to the UK with the Review to support the Rolling Stones, she decided to stay and was signed as a solo artist by Andrew Loog Oldham, becoming known as The First Lady of Immediate. As well as her own hits, often produced by Mick Jagger, she recorded with the Small Faces on Tin Soldier and toured with her backing group, The Nice. More recently she has appeared in stage musicals and sung with Ocean Colour Scene, Roger Waters, Oasis and the Manfreds. PP Arnold’s gorgeous voice, reminiscent of Ronnie Spector and Tina Turner, can soar spectacularly or be intimately sexy in a way that is all her own. The Best of P.P. Arnold is an excellent compilation of 20 tracks featuring her best solo work, including classics such as Cat Stevens’ The First Cut Is The Deepest, (If You Think You’re) Groovy, The Time Has Come and Chip Taylor’s Angel Of The Morning, as well as rarer tracks such as the wonderful Letter To Bill and a fine version of the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby. Highly recommended.


One of English rock, blues and soul music’s finest singers, Chris Farlowe was born John Henry Deighton in 1940s London. Inspired by Lonnie Donegan, he formed a skiffle group then joined The Johnny Burns Rhythm and Blues Quartet and The Thunderbirds before moving to Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label, where he recorded eleven singles - five of them Mick Jagger and Keith Richard songs. The paradoxically timeless Out of Time was a number one hit in 1966 and Chris Farlowe was recognised as one of the great voices of the 1960s, channeling Ray Charles, Otis Redding and the Stax sound. ‘Chris is a natural...his voice has so much feeling and it’s unique’ - Georgie Fame. Despite now being in his seventies, Chris Farlowe remains one of the busiest performers on the UK and European blues circuit. This outstanding compilation brings together 20 of his best 60s recordings, including the mighty Out of Time, Mike d’Abo’s Handbags and Gladrags, the Beatles’ Yesterday and the Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction. Highly recommended.


Singer, keyboard player, bandleader and Hammond organ maestro George Bruno Money, better known as Zoot, was born in 1942 in Bournemouth. Inspired by Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles, he was drawn to rock and roll music and became a leading light in the vibrant British music scene during the 1960s after forming the Big Roll Band, with himself as vocalist and Hammond organist. The Big Roll Band played soul, jazz and R&B, and became associated with the burgeoning London’s Soho scene, playing regularly at The Flamingo Club in Soho. Zoot Money later joined Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated and has played with many others, including Eric Burdon, Steve Marriott, Spencer Davis, Geno Washington and Alan Price. Transition, originally released in 1968, finds the Zootser moving on from jazz and blues to something a little more demanding. Amongst his backing crew is a young Andy Summers on guitar, later of The Police, and there are enjoyably spacy sitars and flutes along with more orthodox instrumentation. Reflective, soulful and touched by psychedelia, the album reflects Zoot’s concurrent adventures with the short-lived Dantalian’s Chariot.


This CD and DVD set features British Rock legend Ginger Baker and his excellent ad hoc band of musicians recorded at London’s Jazz Café in November 2009. Baker is unquestionably one of the finest drummers to emerge from the UK in that remarkable explosion of musical talent in the 1950s and 60s. Best known as one third of the original supergroup Cream, playing alongside Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton, Baker’s life has also incorporated heroin addiction, three marriages, the loss and eventual recovery of his personal fortune, a life-long love of jazz and the discovery and immersion in the music of Africa (not to mention his passion for polo!). As well as the great man himself, now an incredible seventy years old, the surprisingly tight band here includes Chris Goss (guitar), Abbas Doddoo (African percussion), jazz veteran Pete King (alto sax), Jonas Heliborg (bass) and Ginger’s daughter Leda, also on bass. The songs cover the entire scope and range of Ginger Baker’s career – from hard rock and jazz improvisation through to African flavoured songs – and his magisterial drumming has lost none of its impact.


Arguably the first Underground rock act of all time, The Fugs came together at the Peace Eye bookstore in New York’s East Village towards the end of 1964. Despite having something of a revolving door line-up, the band had at its core Peace Eye owner Doug Sanders and fellow poet Tuli Kupferberg, and went on to become an anarchic and anti-establishment combo par excellence, releasing several albums and once, memorably, attempted to levitate The Pentagon. North London indie label, Floating World, via their reissue division Retroworld, here release a two albums on one CD set which brings together Tenderness Junction and It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest, originally recorded for Reprise in 1967 and 1968. By this time the band had developed into a more competent rock band, without losing the their scabrous invective, sense of humour, subversiveness or blunting of their cutting edge. A soundtrack to the Golden Age of 1960s hippy culture, these albums remain unexpectedly durable and furiously entertaining. Beware imitations – this is the real thing.


Devon-based Will Echo is a Multi talented singer songwriter who has become a breakthrough artist on the British folk-rock scene. Clearly influenced by Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Ray LaMontagne and Conor Oberst, he has a unique voice that cuts through mediocrity to deliver contemporary love songs and guitar based anthems in his own distinctive style. Fragile features ten songs full of joy, energy and passion performed by a true artist who writes songs that are profound reflections of love and life. Intelligent and often moving lyrics are combined with attractive melodies and arrangements to produce a refreshing and engaging album. Will Echo is an excellent musician with a fine repertoire of memorable songs - surely destined to become better known in future. Check his website for more details.


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