Record Review with Kevin Bryan

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It’s Record Review time again, courtesy of Kevin Bryan.

Gordon Giltrap & Paul Ward - The Last of England (Angel Air Records). This new vehicle for Gordon Giltrap’s instrumental artistry finds him working in close collaboration with keyboardist and producer Paul Ward, who the demon guitarist had first encountered in the distinctly prosaic surroundings of a Lincolnshire car boot sale three decades ago. Giltrap and Ward serve up an attractive blend of old and new compositions for your listening pleasure, including a suite of evocative instrumental pieces inspired by the significant pre-Raphaelite paintings hanging in the Birmingham Art Gallery, most notably All The Days of May and the epic title track.

Beans on Toast - Rolling Up the Hill (Xtra Mile Recordings). The seventh studio album from maverick singer-songwriter Jay McAllister’s likeable alter ego was recorded in Kansas a few months ago with the invaluable assistance of husband and wife country duo Truckstop Honeymoon. McAllister describes Rolling Up The Hill as a record about love,art,travel and bank robbery, showcasing his unique world view via arresting ditties such as 2016, Fast Train and

Beautiful Alice.

Siobhan Miller - Strata (Songprint Recordings). The eagerly anticipated follow up to Siobhan Miller’s well received 2014 debut set, Flight of Time, finds this gifted Scottish folkie in typically peerless form as she tackles a beguiling blend of traditional ballads and contemporary material including Andy M.Stewart’s The Ramblin’ Rover and Bob Dylan’s One Too Many Mornings. Her deeply personal song selection also breathes new life into gems from the folk tradition such as The Unquiet Grave and Bonny Light Horseman, and roots music enthusiasts should find Strata a well nigh indispensable purchase.

Mod Music (Union Square Music). Union Square’s latest 2CD retrospective features classic offerings from many of the vibrant soul, blues, jazz and ska performers whose work inspired members of the mod fraternity to shake their proverbial tailfeathers during the movement’s heyday half a century ago. Any anthology which features archive gems from the likes of Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Solomon Burke and New Orleans soulman should be worth an hour or so of anyone’s time, and I can’t really recommend this life enhancing package too highly.