Album reviews: Rod Stewart | Eagleowl
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One of the best rock writers and voices Britain has produced, Rod has barely risked a wrinkle in the silk suit or permatanned brow for the past 20 years, so it comes as little surprise that Time deviates little from his tried and trusted territory.
He warbles sweetly about “erotic suggestions and mixed metaphors” on the tepid Sexual Religion, in a manner fitting for a man of his age. Make Love To Me Tonight is so cruise ship it almost demands the suffix “carefully”.
It’s Over is a fair if overly deliberate break-up song, while Time itself reverts to the musical formula of the glory years, but sensibly straps the song up in a truss.
Download this: Beautiful Morning, Live The Life, She Makes Me Happy
This Silent Year
Fence, available online
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The Edinburgh six-piece’s long-awaited debut album has been years in the making, which is a long gestation even for such an exotic creature. Adding to the organics, they have acted as the touring band for The Pictish Trail’s recent jaunt round the country, and been fundamental to the Fence label since the very beginning.
Not Over is as close to a conventional pop song as the band are likely to get – moody and atmospheric – while the doleful Too Late In The Day captures the group’s collective knowing shrug.
Download this: Not Over, Eagleowl Vs Woodpigeon
Eight Classic Albums
Real Gone Jazz B006TX25AA, £10.99
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The Real Gone Jazz label is well worth seeking out, whether you’re new to jazz and wanting to suss out different styles and musicians, or you’re an aficionado looking to plug gaps or replace favourite, worn-out recordings.
Eight LPs on four discs for under £11 is brilliant value, especially when they are (as in the case of this Mulligan set) well chosen and from the same era.
This Mulligan set is a must, and includes the legendary baritone saxophonist’s musical summits with Johnny Hodges, Thelonious Monk, Ben Webster and Stan Getz.
Download this: Too Close For Comfort, Shady Side
Frances Wilkins and Claire White
Briggiestane Music, available online
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This recording mixes new songs in authentic Shetland idioms with old tunes performed on concertina and fiddle.
Singer Claire White, who grew up there, playing the fiddle in the late Tom Anderson’s Young Tradition, has recently begun writing new song lyrics in old Shetlandic, and contributes them here.
Frances Wilkins lived, worked and played in Shetland for years and, as an ethnomusicologist based at Aberdeen’s Elphinstone Institute, is daily surrounded by music and the evolving tradition. Here she confidently folds her concertina under White’s vocals and fiddle through the lovely airs, reels, jigs and wedding tunes that give their album such a strong character.
Download this: Eagle Bairn
Ralph Vaughan Williams
Symphony Nos 5, 8
Hallé CD HLL 7533, £13.99
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Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony was premiered at the 1943 Proms, and its pastoral themes amid the prevailing global conflict might have made it seem like a valedictory work from a composer who was then in his seventies. Yet this work was to be followed by more symphonies.
A decade later, Vaughan Williams’ Eighth Symphony is a quite different beast: more orchestrally complex, with “all the ’phones and ’spiels known to the composer”, with references back to his pastoral works but with a more sinister and noisier gloss.
Sir Mark Elder conducts the Hallé Orchestra with evident understanding and passion for both works, in a classy recording that deserves repeated listening.
Download this: Symphony No 8, Toccata