Lotte Lenya sings Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins and Berlin Theatre Songs
This is a brilliant reissue and remastering of some of Lotte Lenya’s finest recordings recorded in 1955 and 1957 in Berlin. This is late or mature period Lenya covering Weill’s material with a rich, deep voice filled with the insights and nuances of a life of experience. She has a similarity to Billie Holiday’s voice changed utterly in the same period or Frank Sinatra in his twilight years had a hollowed out voice which carried with it magnificence.
Georgie Fame, 20 Beat Classics
A fabulously catchy collection of some of Fame’s best 1960s classics from the opening bars of the intoxicating ‘Yeh Yeh’ through wonderful versions of ‘Sunny’, ‘Sitting in the Park’ and ‘I Love the Life I Live’. A very British, blues collection of up-beat, enlivening music!
Greyboy: 15 Years of West Coast Cool
Now this is what discerning indie record shops are for and which Amazon et al can never replace and hopefully never will. From the fab Borderline Records in Brighton I bought this because it happened to be playing when I came into the shop. Greyboy are a small US label who champion contemporary soul jazz, bluesy, dance music with a laid back feel. This record collects a pile of their best tracks and has loads of guest appearances including the wonderful Sharon Jones (of the Dap-Kings fame).
Donald Fagen, The New York Rock and Soul Revue
Fagen, one half of Steely Dan, has taken an eternity making three (or maybe two and a bit) utterly superb solo albums, so in 1991 he gathered together some of his pals – and put on a live show – touching on the Dan years and his then one solo album. When his pals include part of the once-legendary Rascals, Michael McDonald and Phoebe Show, it had to be a bit of a stormer.
Another stormer from Borderline Records. An eclectic collection of classics from North Africa and the Middle East, combining the well-known and lesser known, and a second album of remixes. For beginners like myself, this is a real treasure trove into a whole host of artists I have not even remotely heard of.
The Rascals, Peaceful World/The Island of Real
One of the greatest and now under-rated groups of the 1960s, who not only had loads of hits from ‘Groovin’’ to ‘How Can I Be Sure?’, but also had a political agenda and impact: refusing to play segregated gigs in the States in the late 1960s and suffering commercially for it. This two-fer represents their last two albums – by which the hits had dried up. Peaceful World is packed full of catchy tunes and harmonies as well as the whiff of idealism which it is hard to believe didn’t sell by the bucket load then!
Drive-By Truckers, Live from Austin
A great, contemporary American rock band who sing and write songs about real people and lives and are not afraid to confront issues of class, race and politics – without getting all Bono. This is their latest live album – just out – and excellent though it is – their earlier live platter – the brilliantly titled and sounding – Alabama Ass Whuppin’ – is still untouchable for hard rockin’, Patterson Hood’s stories and shere atmosphere. In an alternative universe these guys would be huge rather than the insipid Kings of Leon, but at least the DBTs have recorded a couple of masterpieces – Southern Rock Opera – being the most compelling.