Kevin Bryan’s top record reviews this week

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This week resident music expert Kevin Bryan reviews a selection of music.

Alison Moorer, “Down To Believing” (Proper Records)- The twin themes of family and relationships dominate this painfully candid follow-up to the alternative country balladeer’s 2010 album, “Crows.” The break-up of Alison Moorer’s marriage to fellow singer-songwriter Steve Earle and the recent diagnosis of her young son’s autism has obviously informed the lyrical content of stand-out songs such as “Tear Me Apart” and “If I Were Stronger,” and Alison also delivers a splendid re-vamp of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” for good measure.

“The Very Best of Solomon Burke” (Union Square Music)- This richly rewarding 2 CD anthology focusses attention on the recordings that this hugely influential vocalist made for Atlantic Records during the sixties, including soulful gems such as “Cry To Me,” “Just Out of Reach” and “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love.” Legendary record producer Jerry Wexler once hailed Burke as “the greatest soul singer of all time,” and there’s certainly ample evidence of this larger than life character’s unique talent on offer here, including compelling covers of such diverse ditties as Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have To Go,” Lee Dorsey’s “Get Out Of My Life Woman” and , rather unexpectedly, Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm.”

Django Reinhardt, “At The Movies” (El/Cherry Red Records)- Belgian born guitarist Reinhardt was unquestionably one of the finest jazz musicians of his generation, and this absorbing anthology features selections from three of the many films which have made extensive use of the great man’s archive recordings, Woody Allen’s “Sweet and Lowdown” and “Stardust Memories” and Louis Malle’s “Lacombe, Lucien.” These impeccable performances from the thirties and forties include classic collaborations with fiddler Stephane Grappelli such as “Avalon,” “Limehouse Blues” and “Sweet Georgia Brown.”

Daevid Allen, “Bananamoon Obscura 1 & 2” (Floating World Records)- Australian oddball Daevid Allen is best remembered as the founding father of anarchic prog rockers Gong, but these later recordings find him working with Spanish band Euterpe and famed Canterbury musicians Hugh Hopper and Pip Pyle in mildly deranged celebrations of his unique musical worldview. The Euterpe tracks take the form of a free flowing acoustic rehearsal featuring numbers like “Magick Brother” and “Five & Twenty,” whilst the live Brainville material captures a 1998 gig which found Allen and and his gifted cohorts revisiting golden oldies from Gong’s dim and distant past such as “Fohat Digs Holes in Space.”