Kevin Bryan reviews some of the latest music releases in his weekly feature.
Mark Harrison - The Panoramic View (Self released). Mark Harrison may not be a household name just yet, but this supremely gifted singer, guitarist and songwriter is certainly a prime purveyor of roots music in all its glorious breadth and diversity. Mark’s eagerly anticipated new CD interweaves elements of folk, blues and gospel to create a heady hybrid whose endlessly inventive sound is particularly well represented by Meet on the Other Side,Hooker’s Song and One Small Suitcase, with the great man in typically peerless form on 12-string and National resonator guitar throughout.
100 Hits - The Best Northern Soul Album (Demon Music). The latest addition to Demon’s fun packed 100 Hits series focusses attention on the vibrant delights of the Northern soul genre. The bulk of the four-CD set is populated by highly sought-after obscurities from the likes of Percy Wiggins. Lorraine Chandler and Lou Courtney, although the astute compilers have also found space for a few bona fide hits from the golden age of soul in the shape of Lee Dorsey’s Ride Your Pony, Freda Payne’s Band of Gold and James & Bobby Purify’s Shake A Tail Feather.
No Coward Soul - The Almanac (Self Released). This fine album provides an eloquent outlet for the creative musings of No Coward Soul’s frontman Brad Schmauss, who grew up amidst the epic grandeur of Alaska but now draws his inspiration from the rather more mundane landscapes of South London. His five-piece band’s soulful brand of Americana is both lyrically and musically compelling, drawing on an ecletic array of musical influences to create stand-out tracks such as Lighthouse, Holy Toledo and The Almanac itself. Splendid stuff.
Tommy Roe - Greatest Hits (Wienerworld). The innocuous world of bubblegum pop had few finer practitioners than Tommy Roe during the middle and late 60s, and Wienerworld’s new anthology brings together the bulk of his hit-making output, along with a few choice cover versions. The Archies’ Sugar Sugar and Tommy James’s Crimson and Clover are both given an airing alongside the cream of Tommy’s own back catalogue, including Dizzy, Heather Honey and the Buddy Holly-influenced