Kevin Bryan’s CD Lowdown

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KEVIN Bryan takes a look at the latest CD releases.

Suede, “Bloodsports” (Warner)- Suede frontman Brett Anderson once memorably likened his singular Britpop band to an “out of control pram,” and the re-formed outfit are in typically expansive form as they unveil their first album since 2002’s “A New Morning.” Commercial success seems assured for a package which never strays too far from the highly charged formula which brought Suede so much fame and fortune during the mid nineties, with guitarist Richard Oakes conjuring up echoes of the long departed Bernard Butler during stand-out tracks such as “Snowblind” and “It Starts and Ends With You.”

Eric Bogle with John Munro,”A Toss of the Coin” (Greentrax CDTRAX 375)- Bogle is best known in folk circles for the two classic anti-war ballads that he penned during his creative heyday in the early eighties,”And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” and “No Man’s Land.” The rest of this Scottish expatriate’s fairly sizeable body of work tends to pale a little in comparison but his Greentrax albums are invariably highly listenable affairs,and “A Toss of the Coin” is thankfully no exception to the rule.The contents were recorded in his adopted home of Adelaide,including the poignant “In Flanders Field” and “Home is the Hero” and two fine songs written and sung by Eric’s trusty sidekick John Munro in the shape of “Glory Days” and “Absolution.”

Chuck Leavell,”Back To The Woods” (Crosscut CCD 11107)- This mellow package finds veteran Allman Brothers and Rolling Stones keyboardist Leavell paying homage to some of his musical heroes as he immerses himself in the timeless delights of the blues piano repertoire.Pioneering performers such as Little Brother Montgomery,Leroy Carr and Memphis Slim provide the raw material for this refreshingly uncluttered set, and Chuck trades licks with guest guitarist Keith Richards on one of the album’s highpoints, a rocking re-vamp of Otis Spann’s “Boots and Shoes.”

Gerhard Taschner, “Mendelssohn / Tchaikovsky” (MDG 642 1797 2)- Gerhard Taschner saw himself primarily as a concert artist, which means that the recordings of his work that survive today have all had to be culled from radio broadcasts,as the great Cezch violinist never saw the need to sign a major recording contract. This new MDG draws on archive recordings from the forties and early fifties, with Taschner tackling the Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos alongside a highly expressive rendition of the Spanish composer Sarasate’s “ Zigeuenerweisen.”

Roger Cook,”Running With The Rat Pack” (RPM RETROD 921)- This 2 CD set delivers a fairly comprehensive overview of the pop tunesmith solo career during the early seventies, serving up two complete albums, “Minstrel in Flight” and “Meanwhile Back At The World” alongside the contents of another long-player from Cook and his Blue Mink sidekick Herbie Flowers which was deemed a little too weird for mass consumption by the powers that be at Regal Zonophone and promptly shelved. It’s the hitherto unreleased tracks which repay closer investigation these days however,with “Daughter of Someone” and the brassy “Rat Pack” emerging as the best of a mildly peculiar bunch.