Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week’s alternative CD releases
Rod Stewart - Blood Red Roses (Decca Records). In recent years, Rod Stewart has channelled his energies into the production of a series of easy-on-the-ear covers collections which couldn’t have been further removed from the delightfully eclectic and heartfelt fare which made his name during the late 60s and early 70s. Rod has abandoned this highly lucrative formula for a while to assemble Blood Red Roses however, joining forces once again with long term collaborator Kevin Savigar to pen a varied musical package whose contents run the gamut from the snappy, Motown-influenced pop of Rest of My Life to the distinctly bizarre variant on a Ewan MacColl sea shanty which supplies the album’s rather unlikely title track.
Steppenwolf - Hour of the Wolf (Talking Elephant). Steppenwolf’s best days were well behind them when this album first saw the light of day in 1975, but the Canadian-American outfit were already assured of their place in rock history as the creators of the classic biker anthem, Born To Be Wild, which had figured prominently in 1969’s iconic counterculture film, Easy Rider. Hour of the Wolf didn’t spring too many surprises on the well-informed listener and suffered something of a critical mauling as a result, although archetypal Steppenwolf tracks such as Caroline and Two For The Love Of One are well worth a few minutes of anyone’s time.
Buster Poindexter - Buster Poindexter/Buster Goes Berserk (Retro World). Buster Poindexter was the larger-than-life alter ego of New York Dolls frontman and famed Mick Jagger lookalike David JoHansen, who adopted this pseudonym in the late 80s in order to indulge his passion for big band jazz, lounge music and calypso. Retro World’s latest CD re-issue brings together the first two albums that JoHansen recorded in this life enhancing format, including his hit version of Arrow’s Soca success, Hot Hot Hot and affectionate revamps of golden oldies such as Good Morning, Judge, Hit The Road,Jack and Charles Calhoun’s Smack Dab in the Middle.
Buddy Miles - Chapter VII (Retro World). The late Buddy Miles is best remembered these days for his powerhouse contributions to the sound of seminal American rock acts such as The Electric Flag and Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys during the late 60s and early 70s, but the flambuoyant Omaha-born musician was also a significant band leader in his own right. Chapter VII was recorded in 1973 in close collaboration with British guitarist Adrian Gurvitz, serving up a varied diet of energised rock, funk and blues before closing with a live version of his best known song, Them Changes, featuring the great Carlos Santana.