Record Review with Kevin Bryan

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Kevin Bryan gives his verdict on some of the latest music releases.

Tears For Fears - Rule The World (Virgin/EMI). Curt Smith and Roland Orzabal will be embarking on their first major UK tour in many a long year when they hit the road in May next year, and the Bath duo hope to whet their fans’ appetities for this eagerly anticipated jaunt with the release of this entertaining career retrospective. A few tracks appear in slightly edited versions of the originals, presumably to make it a little easier to squeeze the contents on to a single CD, but that does little to diminish the appeal of a radio-friendly package boasting a string of mid eighties pop gems led by Everybody Wants To Rule The World, Mad World and the epic, Beatlesque Sowing The Seeds of Love.

Ready Steady Go! The Sixties (Union Square). The release of this fun packed three-CD set gives listeners of a certain age a heaven-sent opportunity to wallow in nostalgia as they immerse themselves in the delights of 60 tracks from pop’s “golden era” half a century ago. Anthologies such as this really stand or fall on the quality of their musical content and on this occasion the good people at Union Square have excelled themselves with the inclusion of bona-fide classics from Procol Harum, The Kinks, The Animals and Donovan to name but a few.

Five Hand Reel - Earl O’Moray (Talking Elephant). Five Hand Reel were a relatively short-lived outfit fronted by legendary Glaswegian folkie Dick Gaughan, and their richly rewarding blend of rock and traditional music is captured at its brilliant best in this darkly compelling collection. Earl O’Moray was the band’s third and finest album, produced by Fairport Convention’s Simon Nicol and blessed with evocative ditties such as the rarely recorded title tune and Robert Burns’s My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose as well as a stirring rendition of the great Hamish Henderson’s Freedom Come All Ye.

The Gary Moore Band - Grinding Stone (Retroworld). This excellent CD re-issue focusses attention on the late Gary Moore’s first solo set, which found him working with drummer Pierce Kelly and bassist John Curtis in what would prove to be the only album that they would record together. As a vehicle for Gary’s rare abilities as a guitarist this under-rated 1973 recording is well worth 40 minutes or so of anyone’s time, featuring six fairly lengthy tracks clearly influenced by then highly fashionable acts such as the Allman Brothers and Santana. with the epic Spirit emerging as the pick of a genuinely eclectic package.