Kevin Bryan’s record reviews

The Doors, “L.A.Woman” (Rhino 8122 79755 1)- 2012 has apparently been dubbed “The Year of the Doors,” and this CD re-issue sets the ball rolling by reviving the iconic rock band’s classic 1971 set in a new, expanded version, including hitherto unheard takes of eight songs from the album, along with one completely unreleased number ,the bluesy “She Smells So Nice.” Charismatic frontman Jim Morrison would be found dead in his Paris apartment a few weeks after “L.A.Woman” was released, and although the remaining band members did try to struggle on for a few years without him the project was ultimately doomed to failure, leaving this compelling collection as their effective vinyl swansong. “Love Her Madly,” the eerily memorable “Riders On The Storm” and the punchy title track are the pick of an excellent package.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 25th February 2012, 10:51 am

“Sweet Lights” (Highline HL 004P)- Shai Halperin was formerly a member of highly regarded indie bands The Capitol Years and War On Drugs, and the gifted Philadelphian tunesmith now embarks on a solo career with the release of the entirely self-produced “Sweet Lights.” It’s a delightfully appealing piece of work which references a string of sixties influences, most notably Messrs.Lennon and McCartney, whilst also showcasing Halperin’s own unique gifts as a songwriter of rare taste, subtlety and imagination. “Are We Gonna Work It Out” and “Waterwell” capture the essence of Shai’s charmingly derivative approach to music-making.

Meira Farkas, “Schubert:Wanderer Fantasy, 4 Piano Sonatas” (Gramola 98929/30)- An animated new Schubert recital from Romanian born classical pianist Meira Farkas, bringing a near perfect blend of strength and sensitivity to bear on some of the sadly short lived composer’s most attractive keyboard works. Meira has already declared her ambition to record the complete cycle of Schubert piano compositions, and the release of this 2 CD set brings the virtuoso a little closer to achieving her ultimate goal as she turns in a string of superlative performances , including a particularly impressive rendition of the technically demanding “Wanderer Fantasy.”

Robin George’s Love Power, “Love Power and Peace” (Angel Air SJPCD 357)- This musical “labour of love” is the brainchild of much travelled guitarist Robin George, who has assembled a fairly star-studded line-up to underpin his efforts as he’s assembled a muscular package which draws on elements of soul, blues and good old fashioned rock to capture the listener’s attention . The likes of Asia’s John Wetton, Uriah Heep’s Ken Hensley and Climax Blues Band’s Pete Haycock all play their part in the success of a fine charity album which transcends musical genres with effortless ease and must rank as one of the most attractive offerings that George has been involved with during the course of his long and varied career.

Old 97’s, “The Grand Theatre Vol.2” (New West NW6204-A)- This Texan outfit may be rapidly approaching veteran status these days, but their creative output is still fuelled by the same spirit of wry detachment which has given the Old 97’s the edge over many of their contemporaries in the alternative country field for the past two decades or so. The bulk of this new set was apparently penned by frontman Rhett Miller during a recent tour of the UK with Steve Earle , and the quartet’s superior bar-band sound is captured at its’ most appealing on tracks such as “How Lovely It All Was, “ “I’m A Trainwreck” and “Brown Haired Daughter.”