Record Review with Kevin Bryan

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Kevin Bryan reviews some of the latest music releases.

Beth Nielsen Chapman - Hearts of Glass (Proper Records). The latest offering from country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman blends captivating new material with re-recordings of the cream of her back catalogue and Beth’s own beautifully understated versions of some classic songs which she originally penned for luminaries such as Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. If My World Didn’t Have You and Old Church Hymns & Nursery Rhymes slot neatly into the latter category, and another of the stand-out tracks, the infectious opener Come To Mine, was co-composed with veteran Mancunian tunesmith Graham Gouldman of 10cc fame.

The Charlie Daniels Band - The Epic Trilogy Vol.4 (Retroworld). Multi-instrumentalist Charlie Daniels has been active on the recording front since the early 70s, and is probably best remembered these days for his novel 1979 chart-topper, The Devil Went Down To Georgia. This richly rewarding re-issue from the good people at Retroworld brings together three complete Daniels albums, spanning the years from 1974 to 1982 as this larger than life performer served up his unique fusion of Southern Rock, country and blues for your listening pleasure.

Carlene Carter - C’est C Bon (Retroworld). This 1983 offering from Johnny Cash’s stepdaughter signalled her final fling in the electro-pop field before she fully embraced mainstream country music via subsequent albums such as I Fell In Love and Little Love Letters. The finished product is agreeable rather than inspired, boasting a songwriting contribution from Simon Climie of short-lived eighties hit-makers Climie Fisher, Heart to Heart, alongside an energised re-vamp of Jerry Lee Lewis’s 1958 hit, Breathless, and a fine cover of her then husband Nick Lowe’s Don’t Give My Heart A Break.

Dave Greenslade - Cactus Choir (Angel Air). Greenslade’s collective decision to reluctantly call it a day in 1975 left their creative mainstay Dave Greenslade with a weighty pile of still unrecorded material on his hands, and this provided the musical content of his first solo album, Cactus Choir. The highly accomplished keyboardist assembled some fine musicians to underpin his efforts, including drummer Simon Phillips and Rare Bird vocalist Steve Gould, and although the finished product was well received critically sales figures were sadly underwhelming despite the presence here of impressive prog rock concoctions such as Country Dance, Gettysburg and Swings and Roundabouts.