A round up of new releases
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The British blues rock behemoth was to be admired when deciding the death in 1980 of drummer John Bonham meant the group could not continue without him. His son Jason is all grown up, and in possession of some of those wondrous Bonzo skin-bashing genes, so legitimising their reunion.
This is a belated memento, recordings of the Earl’s Court shows five years ago. As mighty as the band were in their day, you are entitled to query the relevance of the revisitation of their seminal songs in the band’s dotage. Jimmy Page and Robert Plant are older men and there are some musical cracks that cannot be papered over.
Download this: Trampled Underfoot, No Quarter, Kashmir
Cash Back: Songs I Learned From Johnny
Drumfire Records, £11.99
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A well-produced record in every sense, this selection of Cash covers masterfully skirts the obvious classics and dusts down other equally sturdy songs plucked from the shadows of his career. They work well with Owens’ plaintive tenor tones, and sympathetic backing from Showbiz Niz’s guitars, not to mention Marianne Campbell’s fiddle playing. Understated and simple in execution, it strips away the angst from Sunday Morning Coming Down, which remains a grubby regret but less sorry for itself.
Recorded with Will Kimburgh in Nashville, the album manages to be country authentic while building on the success of the previous record Whiskey Hearts.
Download this: Girl From The North Country, Sunday Morning Coming Down
Jazz On Film: Beat, Square & Cool
Moochin About MOOCHIN02, £24.99
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The second volume of five CDs’ worth of jazz movie soundtracks is, arguably, packed with more treasures than the first, and features the crème de la crème of jazz. The title may not give much away but this set includes the original soundtrack recordings – all digitally remastered, of course – of eight movies from 1953 to 1961. Some are long-established as classic examples of jazz on film (Paris Blues, I Want To Live etc) but others, such as The Wild One, have tended to be overlooked. And most have been unavailable or hard to come by for the longest time.
Download this: Phil’s Tune (from Les Tricheurs), Things Are Looking Down (The Subterraneans)
Veni, Veni Emmanuel
Challenge CC72540, £13.99
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If James MacMillan ever decides to set Dante’s Divine Comedy to music, he can clearly use A Deep But Dazzling Darkness as a starting point for Inferno. The vocal content of this work for solo violin, ensemble and tape adds much mystery to music that never runs the risk of becoming optimistic. I (A Meditation On Iona) is almost as stormy, but with a brighter ending. Veni, Veni Emmanuel, perhaps the best known of MacMillan’s three works on this CD, is a concerto in eight diverse sections. It may begin with the idea of Christ’s imminent arrival, and even joyfully celebrate the fact in dance, but the Cross is present even here to undercut the happiness. Highly worthwhile.
Download this: I (A Meditation On Iona)