Reviews of the latest music releases

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Chicken Shack, 100 Ton Chicken ***

Stan Webb's Chicken Shack were one of the leading lights of the British blues boom during the late sixties and 100 Ton Chicken was the group's third album, recorded shortly after Christine Perfect had left the fold to pursue a solo career in 1969.

Perfect would go on to achieve worldwide fame with Fleetwood Mac but her former colleagues were much less successful in their attempts to fashion a heavier and more commercial sound in the aftermath of her departure, although Tears in the Wind did supply them with a minor hit and they also turned in highly competent covers of tunes such as Clarence Carter's Weekend Love and Davy Graham's Anji.

Out now (Talking Elephant TECD202 : £12.38)

Robin Trower, Roots and Branches ****

The former Procol Harum guitarist has slowly but surely slipped out of the public eye since recording a string of highly atmospheric albums for Chrysalis Records during the mid-seventies but his passion for music-making remains undimmed, and his latest Manhaton CD features re-vamps of some of the classic blues and R&B creations which inspired this gifted performer during his formative years.

Hound Dog, Little Red Rooster and The Thrill Is Gone are all given an airing in the process, and Trower's distinctive guitar work is thankfully still just as fluid,intense and inventive as ever.

Released on February 4th (Manhaton HATMAN 2030 : £9.00)

Maurice Ravel: Complete Works for Violin and Piano, Sonata for Violin and Violoncello ****

This fine new CD provides an absorbing vehicle for the combined talents of violinist Lena Neudauer and pianist Paul Rivinius as they showcase some of the eclectic French composer's most impressive chamber music creations.

The undoubted highlight of the package is the dazzling Tzigane, and the duo also join forces with cellist Julian Steckel for another of Ravel's most influential compositions, 1922's lean and economical Sonata for Violin and Violoncello.

Released on January 14th (Haenssler CD 98.002 : £9.00)

Cadillac Cuties and Hot Rod Heroes ***

The gas-guzzling automobile became one of the most potent symbols of personal freedom in 1950s America, and the burgeoning music business wasn't slow to capitalise on the fact, with seemingly every songwriter in the land penning their paeans of praise to the delights of a life on the open road.

This new 2 CD anthology brings together 50 of the era's most engaging car related anthems, including Bo Diddley's Road Runner, Chuck Berry's You Can't Catch Me and Jackie Brenston's classic Rocket 88.

Out now (Fantastic Voyage FVDD 147 : £8.86)

The Getaway Plan, Requiem ****

Alternative Aussie rockers The Getaway Plan have returned to the fray after a self-imposed two year hiatus with a new album which represents a marked progression from their well received debut set, Other Voices, Other Rooms.

The band has obviously made a conscious attempt to marry their natural flair for experimentation with a much more radio friendly approach to songwriting, with tracks such as Flying Colours, Move Along and The Reckoning capturing their drama laden sound at its most immediate and compelling.

Out now (Warner Music/UNFD : £11.52)

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