Record Review with Kevin Bryan

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Here are your latest record reviews, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.

Locust Honey String Band - Never Let Me Cross Your Mind (Self Released).­ A refreshing simplicity and directness inform the Locust Honey String Band’s life enhancing brand of music-making as they bring their collective experience to bear on the music of America’s Southeast,reviving songs which were first popularised by the likes of Kitty Wells and country music legends The Carter Family. Chloe Edmonstone’s vibrant fiddle work is a joy to behold as Locust Honey launch into stand­out tracks such as When The Whiskey’s Gone, Lonesome Song and Henry Lee.

Joe Egan - Out of Nowhere (Angel Air)­. This criminally under­rated Scottish singer­/songwriter was Gerry Rafferty’s creative partner in the short­lived pop­rock phenomenon that was Stealers Wheel, but when the band imploded in 1975 various contractual problems meant that he was unable to release his first solo set, Out of Nowhere, until 1979. It’s a fine piece of work nonetheless, occupying much the same musical territory as Rafferty’s Night Owl and blessed with a clutch of subtly memorable tracks led by Back On The Road, Why Let it Bother You and The Last Farewell.

Simply Memphis Blues (Union Square).­ This absorbing 3-CD anthology comes packaged in a sturdy metal tin and serves up a richly rewarding blend of classics and obscurities, including the original versions of several songs which would later be covered by rock luminaries such as Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin. Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s That’s All Right and Memphis Minnie’s 1929 offering, When The Levee Breaks, slot neatly into this category, and the compilers have

also found space for achive gems from the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, B.B.King, Sleepy John Estes and harmonica ace Junior Wells, to name but a few.

Stan Webb’s Chicken Shack - That’s The Way We Are (Talking Elephant).­ The British blues boom of the mid sixties was already a dim and distant memory by the time that demon guitarist Stan Webb ventured into the studio to record That’s The Way We Are, but this highly sought after 1978 album certainly provides an appealing vehicle for the great man’s instrumental prowess and should be required listening for Chicken Shack devotees everywhere. The finished product is a muscular blues rock package of the highest order, blending some gritty self­-penned material with re­vamps of Elmore James’s Shake Your Money Maker and Albert King’s High Cost Of Love.