CDs of the week
We review this week’s best music releases
More Or Less Live
If you loved The Specials, this recording from one or more of the dates on last year’s comeback tour is certain to trigger mixed emotions
Embracing the ska principles which made the Coventry collective so vital on the cusp of the 1980s, it is dated in the most unforgiving and oddly sad fashion.
The big tunes like Ghost Town and Too Much Too Young are wheeled out well oiled, but rants about the National Front lack the urgency of the originals. Rather like American long hairs spitting vitriol at Richard Nixon in the 1970s. Nostalgia sure isn’t what it used to be.
Download this: Ghost Town, Guns Of Navarone
Shortage Records, £11.99
One of Britain’s prime pop writers and performers in the 1980s, Kershaw has quietly been writing for other artists since, taking a step back himself. This is a perky collection of songs, if a little “white socks and loafers”, and sounds like the missing link between Rufus Wainwright (Shoot Me) and Cliff Richard (the Yoda-like titled Bad Day You’re Having). None of it is horrible and none of it inspiring beyond a tapping toe – titling a song Stuff is just a shade too lazy.
Download this: Shoot Me, Runaway
Milan 339 08-2, £13.99
Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe. This new compilation of her recordings highlights her unfairly overlooked talent as a singer. It may seem an odd release for a jazz label, but Monroe would have been a terrific jazz singer, as some of the performances here (notably Bye Bye Baby, Let’s Make Love, Incurably Romantic and Some Like It Hot) reveal. She didn’t record much so it’s a shame that it’s not all here – but at least all of her Gentlemen Prefer Blondes numbers are included.
Download this: When Love Goes Wrong, Let’s Make Love
Cille Bhride: Kilbride
With a Gaelic/English cover and text, this beautiful second album is soaked in Gaelic vocal melody and meaning, in songs suffused with the love of language and life, and dedicated to MacInnes’s mother and aunt, who died within months of each other last year. She is joined by singers Cathy Ann MacPhee and Sineag MacIntyre. The production is by flute player/piper Iain MacDonald and, with fiddler/box player Iain MacFarlane and 15 strong instrumentalists, it frames her subtly expressive, distinctive phrasing and unique vocal colour, which glows strongly through to the exquisite ending (from Carmina Gadelica) of A Ghrian, a mesmeric, loving hymn to the sun.
Download this: Gur Milis Morag
Summer’s Last Will And Testament
Helios CDH55388, £5.99
Although Constant Lambert is a composer whose name regularly crops up in biographies of his pre-war contemporaries, his own music seems, like him, to have been largely forgotten. Yet, in one critic’s words, his ballet music “makes the dullest dancers appear divine”.
His 1927 Rio Grande, featured in this sprightly recording by the English Northern Philharmonia under David Lloyd-Jones, is as un-British a work you are ever likely to hear from a British composer. Lambert’s career effectively ended with Summer’s Last Will And Testament, premiered six days after the death of King George V, a seven-part work that many regard as his finest choral work. Worthwhile.
Download this: Aubade Heroque
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
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Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
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