Album reviews: Mull Historical Society | Craig Finn | Jazz | Folk | Classical

A look at this week’s album releases from across the spectrum


Mull Historical Society

City Awakenings

Xtra Mile Recordings, £11.99

Rating: ***

What’s in a name? Colin MacIntyre has returned to his group moniker like a musical security blanket, and back to the post-jangly pop that turned heads a decade ago. That is how things start – with the strangely dated Must You Make Eyes At Me Now sounding a tad clunky and contrived. Quickly he tries to move on with Can You Let Her Know, a more mature reflection. Fold Out City is measured and rather lovely, Who Would Have Known snuggling up like vintage pop from the Bluebells to the Marmalade. But it’s all still falls short of the wow factor.

Download this: Fold Out City, This Is Not My Heart

Colin Somverille

Craig Finn

Clear Heart Full Eyes

Full Time Hobby, £11.99

Rating: ****

The front man and main writer of The Hold Steady strikes out on his own, sounding a lot less hindered than on everybody’s favourite American bar band’s last effort Stay Positive. Literate and lyrically lacerating, Finn revels in his freedom, starting with the opening mystique of Apollo Bay, never letting up there after. No Future is top order blue collar nihilism, and New Friend Jesus a cuff round the ear of the faith-dependent. These are musical conversations with painfully precise punch lines.

Download this: Balcony, Rented Room



Ruby Braff

Three Classic Albums Plus

Avid Jazz AMSC1011, £8.99

Rating: *****

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The great trumpeter Ruby Braff was in his early thirties when these four late-1950s LPs were recorded – and his playing is sensational, as is the company he keeps (Roy Eldridge, Bud Freeman, Freddie Green, Hank Jones – on vibes! – etc). In fact, it’s difficult to get past the first album, Hi-Fi Salute To Bunny, which finds him alongside the legendary clarinettist Pee Wee Russell and is an absolute gem.

Download this: I’m Coming Virginia, Let’s Do It

Alison Kerr


Karen Tweed

Essentially Invisible To The Eye

May Monday Adventures MMA6327002, (internet only)

Rating: ****

An exceptional, idiosyncratic and passionate exposition of subtle piano accordion moods, own compositions, popular song melodies and venerable tradition, viewed through the complex filter of Ms Tweed’s life experience and her good musical taste. Known over two decades from Kathryn Tickell’s Band, the Poozies and many more collaborative recordings, she sets this album to paint a 10-fingered portrait of her solo, singular self. In five tracks she covers 25 tunes from cinema’s Edelweiss to the trad session’s Morgan Rattler, full of philosophical reflection and joyful performance, bookended by her own beautiful Miss Hanoria McNamara Of Ballybunion.

Download this: Lorraine

Norman Chalmers


Lucia Popp

Lucia Popp

BR Klassik 900306, £8.99

Rating: *****

The Slovakian soprano Lucia Popp first came to public notice shortly after her Vienna stage debut, when selected for a recording of Die Zauberflöte under Otto Klemperer, but several years’ apprenticeship at the Vienna State Opera were to follow before she launched what became a highly successful international career. These live recordings, made between 1968 and 1982, demonstrate the beauty of her voice and the quality of her technique. Throughout, the Munich Radio Orchestra highlights her voice rather than overshadows it. Music-making of the highest quality.

Alexander Bryce

Download this: Track 14: Mozart: Laudate Dominum