A full round-up of the best of this week’s releases
Paul Heaton Presents... The 8th
Based on the seven deadly sins, Paul Heaton’s musical proved a hit at last year’s Manchester International Festival. The accompanying album features an array of renaissance figures, from Royal Court and Young Vic writer Chris Walker to Scottish singer-songwriter Aaron Wright and former member of The Beautiful South, Jacqui Abbott.
There is even a role for a writer of the award-winning TV show The Wire. Too much of a good thing? It’s possibly a bit overcooked.
Download this:The Southside, Walk Into The Light
Telarc TEL-33221-02, £12.99
The idea behind this latest CD from singer-guitarist John Pizzarelli was to focus exclusively on songs from his lifetime – pop songs from the 60s onwards, including tunes by such era-defining writers as the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young – and give them a jazz treatment. The trouble is that Pizzarelli’s vocals are insipid, sickly sounding and gossamer thin, even on the numbers he should be belting out or where some emotional outlay is required. Listen out for the lovely violin playing of Aaron Weinstein on Harvest Moon.
Download this: Harvest Moon
World Of Chances
Tyree Records TYREE03CD, £10.99
Released at Glasgow’s O2 Concert Hall last week, the Tiree-formed band’s fourth album will please their many fans, although it does little for this reviewer, either on stage or on CD. Country or MOR rock (with big inflatable dice tossed over the audience) is stretched to “Celtic” rock by adding some bagpipes.
Don’t expect too much tradition, though, as the sextet has evolved as full-on cheerful international junior rockers, with all the album songs from lead vocalist Alex Dalglish, and if there’s nothing to surprise in the arrangements, there are energy and enthusiasm here in spades.
Download this: Put Your Hands Up
Sometimes it is difficult to know what to make of Victorian tastes in music, that eclectic mix of the artful and the awful. For contemporaries, George Alexander Macfarren was the best English composer of his day; and his 1860 opera Robin Hood was highly popular from the outset.
Perhaps musical opinion reflected his standing as a music teacher and administrator: appointed professor of harmony and composition at the Royal Academy of Music, he became its principal almost 40 years later until his death.
Macfarren’s music is nationalistic in tone and jolly enough, but if a later critic’s view was that this is “on the way to Sullivan”, it still has far to go to catch up. The principal singers strive (sometimes audibly) to make it work under Ronald Corp’s conducting. A brave attempt at a rescue.
Download this: Sons Of The Greenwood
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 25 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: North east