Kevin Bryan record reviews

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Our resident music expert brings you his latest recommendations.

The Damned,”Tiki Nightmare” (Salvo SVX023)-This audio-visual extravaganza extends over 2CDs and a DVD and captures The Damned’s tumultuous gig at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in July 2002. The show was the final date on what had been a very successful tour and found Dave Vanian,Captain Sensible and company in sprightly form as they performed tracks from their then current album,”Grave Disorder” alongside a selection of gems from the golden age of punk led by “ Neat Neat Neat,” “Love Song” and the genuinely classic “New Rose.”

The Ministry of Wolves,”Music from Republik der Woelfe” (Mute Records)- This deliciously macabre offering features a series of experimental tracks based on the cautionary narratives and dark warnings which were unearthed by the Brothers Grimm as they explored the rich tapestry of German folklore during the early 19th century. Sweetness and light is in very short supply as Mick Harvey,Alexander Hacke and their musical cohorts go about their grisly business, drawing much of their inspiration from confessional poet Anne Sexton’s 1971 reworkings of seventeen of the Grimms’ most familiar tales.

Rachel Podger,”Guardian Angel” (Channel Classics CCS SA 35513)- This absorbing new recital from violinist Rachel Podger introduces listeners to the delights of the Baroque repertoire as she tackles a selection of solo pieces penned by composers such as Bach,Biber,Tartini and the lesser known but equally captivating Neapolitan fiddler Nicola Matteis. Podger’s playing is admirably fluent and spontaneous throughout this beautiful showcase for the subtle charms of the unaccompanied violin.

“American Music Library : The Hits of 1959” (Fantastic Voyage FVTD 189)-This fascinating 3 CD feast of nostalgia launches a new series of Fantastic Voyage anthologies chronicling all the US hit singles which made little or no impact on British record buyers during the late fifties and early sixties. Many of the tracks featured here remain relatively obscure more than half a century later but there are quite a few inexplicable flops on offer too,including much covered ditties such as The Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” Ray Charles “What’d I Say” and Chuck Berry’s “Back in the USA” to name but a few.

Beverley Martyn,”The Phoenix and the Turtle” (Les Cousins Music)-Beverley is probably best remembered these days for the two albums that she recorded with her then husband John Martyn during the early seventies,”Road To Ruin” and “Stormbringer.” The veteran folk rock chanteuse has kept a very low profile since those days but she was tempted back into the recording studio recently to assemble this quietly beguiling overview of the relatively meagre body of work that she’s penned over the years,including a hitherto unreleased collaboration with the late Nick Drake entitled “Reckless Jane.”