Record Review with Kevin Bryan

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It’s time once again for Kevin Bryan to give you his latest set of record reviews.

Dave Swarbrick -It Suits Me Well:The Transatlantic Recordings 1976-1983 (Cherry Red). Dave Swarbrick was indisputably the finest fiddler that the British folk scene has ever produced, and this fine two-CD set brings together the four solo albums that this master musician recorded for the Transatlantic label during his creative heyday. The contents are notable for featuring a sparkling reunion of Fairport Convention’s legendary 1970 Full House line-up including legendary guitarist Richard Thompson, and the traditionally orientated content captures Swarb and his gifted cohorts in particularly fine fettle.

Lori Cullen - Sexsmith Swinghammer Songs (True North Records). This distinctive offering finds Canadian vocalist Lori Cullen applying her pure and unaffected tones to a selection of songs penned by the writing duo of Kurt Swinghammer and Ron Sexsmith. The finished product represents a conscious throwback to the work of similarly gifted creative figures from the sixties such as Burt Bacharach and Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Sexsmith himself duets with Lori on one of the album’s stand-out tracks, Off Somewhere.

The Very Best of The Undertones (Union Square). This splendid Derry band’s effervescent brand of pop-punk captured the hearts of a sizeable swathe of the nation’s youth during the late seventies and early eighties, and Union Square’s new 2CD anthology serves up the cream of their recorded repertoire alongside six interesting demo tracks from the same period. Vastly underrated guitarist and songwriter John O’Neill was responsible for penning some of the most irresistibly adolesecent anthems that you could ever wish to hear during The Undertones’ creative heyday including Here Comes The Summer, My Perfect Cousin and the late great John Peel’s all time favourite song, Teenage Kicks.

Mick Softley - Any Mother Doesn’t Grumble (Cherry Red / Morello). Wildly eclectic singer-songwriter Mick Softley never seems to have felt any particular craving for the trappings of fame and fortune, preferring instead to march to the beat of a different drummer and follow his musical inclinations wherever the fancy takes him. Softley remains a fairly obscure figure as a result, although two of his songs , Goldwatch Blues and The War Drags On, were covered by Donovan during the mid-sixties. Any Mother Doesn’t Grumble was Mick’s third and final CBS album, first released in 1972 and blessed with performances from a coterie of top notch session men on a clutch of affecting ditties led by The Song That I Sing, Traveller’s Song and Lady Willow.