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Reviews of the latest music releases
Soul Breakout '61 ****
Fantastic Voyage's latest archive anthology features a stunning array of classic soul recordings which all found their way into the US charts more than half a century ago.
Sam Cooke's Cupid, Ben E.King's Stand By Me and Timi Yuro's Hurt are all given an airing alongside early offerings from revered soul luminaries such as Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin and The Miracles to create a richly rewarding package which should be required listening for fans of the genre everywhere.
Out now (Fantastic Voyage FVDD 143 : £7.84)
Hans Theessink & Terry Evans, Delta Time ****
Veteran Dutch blues guitarist Theessink joined forces with Ry Cooder's old vocal sidekick Terry Evans in Los Angeles a few months ago to assemble this intimate collection, with Cooder himself adding his distinctive musical imprint to three of the stand-out tracks, Shelter From The Storm, The Delmore Brothers' Blues Stay Away From Me and Bobby Charles' How Come People Act Like That.
The gospel tinged vocal harmonies supplied by Evans,Willie Green Jr and Arnold McCuller add the finishing touch to one of the finest acoustic blues sets that you'll be likely to hear in this or any other year.
Released on September 24th (Blue Groove BG 2220 : £7.99)
The Weather Prophets, Blue Skies & Free Rides-The Best of 1986-1989 ***
The Weather Prophets' unassuming brand of jangly, hook laden indie pop never really received the attention that it deserved when the band were operating at the peak of their powers in the mid-eighties, and the musical highlights of the relatively meagre body of work that they recorded during their short time together have now been rescued from obscurity to form this subtly memorable new Cherry Red compilation.
Criminally under-rated creative mainstay Pete Astor emerges from the proceedings as a rock frontman of uncommon grace and charm, re-interpreting blues legend Robert Johnson's Stones In My Passway and Dylan's Odds and Ends alongside self-penned gems such as You're My Ambulance, Almost Prayed and the quietly affecting She Comes From The Rain.
Out now (Cherry Red CDMRED 251 : £9.34)
Bolero - The Best of Ravel ***
Deutsche Grammophon's new two CD set ranges far and wide in its exploration of Maurice Ravel's musical repertoire, drawing on violin sonatas, pieces for solo piano and grand orchestral works, including the inevitable Bolero.
This climactic show-stopper receives the full treatment here in a powerful 1985 recording by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic, and the compilers have also taken this opportunity to showcase the talents of other top notch classical performers such as Claudio Abbado and pianists Martha Argerich and Maria Joao Pires, who features in two stylish collaborations with violinst Augustin Dumay from the early nineties.
Out now (D.G. 479 0537 : £14.63)
The Golden Earrings, Winter Harvest ***
Golden Earring are best remembered these days for their one off 1973 hit, Radar Love, but the melodic Dutch rockers actually began life as The Golden Earrings in 1961, dropping the final 's' from their title in 1969.
Winter Harvest first saw the light of day in 1967, and the contents of this interesting period piece have been fleshed out a little here with the inclusion of four bonus tracks from the previous year.
Vocalist Frans Krassenburg was on the verge of leaving the fold to be replaced by the charismatic Barry Hay, but he was still in fine fettle here as the band delivered a batch of derivative but nonetheless entertaining pop-rock ditties led by Dream, Lionel The Miser and the Kinks influenced Daddy Buy Me A Girl.
Out now (RPM Retro 853 : £17.80)