Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week’s alternative CD releases
Sheryl Crow - Live at the Capitol Theatre (Wienerworld). This impressive audio-visual package focusses attention on Sheryl Crow’s show at New York’s Capitol Theatre in November 2017. The two-CD/DVD set finds the former elementary school teacher tripping merrily down memory lane as she revisits perennial crowd-pleasers such as If It Makes You Happy, All I Wanna Do and Leaving Las Vegas alongside some choice extracts from her most recent studio album, Be Myself, which found Sheryl returning to the pop-rock roots of her nineties output after a brief flirtation with the delights of country music.
The Best of British Rock (Union Square). The title may be something of an exaggeration, but this nostalgic two-CD set does serve up a generous helping of rock gems from the 60s and early 70s. Rare singles successes from the likes of Atomic Rooster and Juicy Lucy are given an airing alongside a clutch of superior album tracks from fine exponents of the genre such as ELP, Uriah Heep and eclectic Canterbury quartet Caravan, who chip in with the title track of their 1970 long-player, If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You.
Benjamin Folke Thomas - Modern Man (Aveline Records). Ben Thomas has been snappily described as “the missing link between Johnny Cash and Ingmar Bergman,” and the Gothenburg-born balladeer’s latest studio album, Modern Man, certainly represents a compelling tour de force of mature and confident songwriting. English may not be Ben’s first language but formative years spent immersed in the collected works of Dylan and Leonard Cohen have given him an aptitude for eloquent lyricism which finds its fullest expression in stand-out tracks such as Lily Like, Some People and the fiery seven-minute epic, Dead Horizon.
Procol Harum - In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra(Cherry Red/Esoteric). This impressive orchestral collaboration delivered an immediate boost to Procol Harum’s flagging fortunes when it first saw the light of day in 1972 , with one of the most compelling tracks from the album, Conquistador, bringing the band their first taste of major chart success since the days of A Whiter Shade of Pale. The original live set has now been expanded with the inclusion of a string of bonus tracks led by Shine On Brightly, Simple Sister and A Salty Dog, and this newly re-mastered CD should be required listening for Procol devotees everywhere.