Album reviews: The Little Willies | The Wedding Present | Jazz | Folk | Classical

Our critics review the latest CDs from the main genres in the music world


The Little Willies: For The Good Times

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Rating: ***

Blue Note, £12.99

For those who don’t know, The Little Willies are Norah Jones and Richard Julian sharing vocal duties, and the considerable guitar playing talents of the lesser known Jim Campilongo, who is impressive throughout.

The format is much the same as their debut effort from 2003, covering country classics by “outlaw” artists such as Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson. Jones’ voice is well suited to the genre, and she lends real authenticity to Lovesick Blues and Diesel Smoke Dangerous Curves, not to mention a spirited reading of Dolly Parton’s Jolene.

Download this: Wide Open Road, If You’ve Got The Money I’ve Got The Time

The Wedding Present: Live 1990

Rating: ***

Scopitones, £9.99

Scottish fans have been catching up with David Gedge and his twitchy band this past week on the live circuit, and this serves as a reminder of their prowess in their pomp.

This is culled from the seventh and eighth of the group’s renowned live cassettes which were sold at gigs at the time, as befits a shining light of the C86 generation. New life is breathed into Steve Harley relic Make Me Smile and a host of songs from their acclaimed second album, Seamonsters.

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Tim Kliphuis and friends: Live at Iford Manor

Rating: ****

Iford DVD01

Over the past six years, Dutch jazz and classical violinist Kliphuis has become a regular visitor to Scotland and has forged strong musical relationships with three of our top jazz musicians – Nigel Clark (guitar) and Roy Percy (bass) and London-based David Newton (piano). They all play together in different line-ups on this DVD, recorded at a concert during the summer, and it’s a perfect introduction to their unique blend of jazz, classical and folk music, including the single most perfect version of Moonlight In Vermont this side of Billie Holiday’s.

Download this: Solveig’s Song, Moonlight In Vermont


Fish and Bird: Every Whisper Is A Shout Across The Void

Rating: ****

Fiddle Head Records FHR005, £29.99

This rising Canadian indie-folk quintet are led by singer Taylor Ashton, on banjo/guitar and fiddler Adam Iredale-Gray, who both come from a folk background but are now mining a seam of vocal impro, complex time signatures and general philosophical obliqueness. This album has them settled into the last of their stretch with female bassist Zoe Guigueno, and is full of imagination and somewhat strange lyrical leanings. The young band add drums and rock out on some tracks; but there is no mistaking their determination to succeed in doing it their own way.

Download this: Circle Tune


Alban Gerhardt & Cecile Licad: Casals Encores

Rating: *****

Hyperion CDA67831, £12.99

This recording of music for cello and piano consists of encores as played by Pablo Casals after his concerts, convincingly performed by cellist Alban Gerhardt, accompanied by pianist Cecile Licad, and the result is a truly light (though not lightweight) mix of pieces that never fail to entertain, by composers such as Debussy, Fauré, Elgar and Chopin. Much skill is involved in these often delicate works, but the effect is charmingly tuneful. Think of this as a sorbet rather than a Christmas pudding to follow Christmas lunch.

Download this: Le Cygne