Old Man Luedecke, Domestic Eccentric (True North Records). This beguiling collaboration between banjo wielding Canadian balladeer Chris Luedecke and Grammy Award winning multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien was captured for posterity at the former’s snowbound Nova Scotia cabin during a week of intense activity last winter, and the finished product is an acoustic gem of the highest order.
Roots enthusiasts should find it well nigh impossible to resist the homespun charms of The Early Days and Now We Got A Kitchen, two fine tracks which provide ample evidence that the pairing between Messrs. Luedecke and O’Brien was clearly a musical marriage made in heaven.
Percy Sledge, Live in Kentucky (Wienerworld). Wienerworld’s latest CD/ DVD package was recorded at veteran soulman Sledge’s 2006 show at Kentucky’s Mountain Arts Centre. The former hospital orderly struck gold very early in his recording career when his debut single, When A Man Loves A Woman soared into the higher reaches of the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 1966, and this majestic ballad provides the memorable finale for an undemanding jaunt down memory lane which also revives some lesser known gems from Percy’s ilustrious back catalogue including I’ll Be Your Everything, Take Time To Know Her and Out Of Left Field.
Fairport Convention, Beyond The Ledge (Wienerworld). Fairport’s annual get together in the sleepy village of Cropredy has become one of the highlights of the English folk calendar, and this newly released DVD focusses attention on their excellent two-hour show at the 1998 festival. Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg and company were in particularly fine fettle as they regaled their receptive Oxfordshire audience with freshly minted versions of much loved old favourites from the dim and distant past such as Crazy Man Michael, Matty Groves and the late, great Sandy Denny’s haunting Who Knows Where The Time Goes.
Mike Heron, Smiling Men With Bad Reputations (Talking Elephant). Incredible String Band stalwart Heron assembled a stellar lineup of rock and folk musicians to underpin his efforts when he put together his first solo album in 1971, and Smiling Men With Bad Reputations was hailed by the critical fraternity as an eclectic masterpiece, although it was never particularly successful in purely commercial terms. Luminaries such as John Cale, Jimmy Page, Richard Thompson and Elton John all lent a hand as Heron delivered quirkily memorable ditties such as Call Me Diamond, Feast of Stephen and Warm Heart Pasty, the latter boasting telling contributions from Pete Townshend and Keith Moon of Who fame.