The latest reviews from Kevin Bryan.
The Groundhogs, "Razor's Edge..Plus"(Talking Elephant TECD 207)-1984 found The Groundhogs returning to the fray after an eight year hiatus with a newly recruited rhythm section underpinning the efforts of founder member and creative mainstay Tony McPhee. Their first recorded venture may not rank as McPhee's finest musical achievement but the contents do certainly repay closer investigation,and this newly remastered and expanded version of the album also features live versions of four of the stand-out tracks, "Superseded," "One More Chance," "I Want You To Love Me" and "Razor's Edge" itself.
Sutherland Brothers & Quiver,"Slipstream" (Talking Elephant TECD 204)- The Quiverlands may have enjoyed the odd glimpse of chart activity during the mid-seventies,but this fine pop-rock outfit never really fulfilled their potential and they finally gave up the ghost in 1979,three years after the release of "Slipstream." The four musicians were in typically tuneful form as they sought to capitalise on the recent Top 10 success of "Arms of Mary," with soon to depart guitarist Tim Renwick at his most economical and eloquent on prime cuts such as "Love on the Side" and "Midnight Rendezvous."
Andy Whitaker,"Things That Happened On Earth" (Eden AW 1012)-This highly listenable album was the brainchild of The Sun and The Moon's Andy Whitaker and Andy Clegg,who decamped to Atlanta,Georgia to assemble a subtly memorable package which draws on elements of everything from Nick Drake and The Beatles to XTC and Black Swan Lane. Whitaker apparently took five years to bring the project to fruition and his time was obviously very well spent,as you'll discover for yourself if you lend an ear to "Stars," "Sermon on the Mount" or the psychedelic "Hydraulic Bottlejacks."
"Good Rockin' Tonight-Red Hot Rockabilly" (Fantastic Voyage FVTD017)- This excellent 3 CD set from Fantastic Voyage focusses attention on many of the leading lights of the rockabilly movement, drawing on recordings made between 1954 and 1958. Rockabilly's heady fusion of country music and earthy rhythm and blues spawned infectious performers such as Janis Martin,Billy Riley and Charlie Feathers,and all three of them feature here alongside household names from the golden era of Sun Records such as Jerry Lee Lewis,Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley.
Matthews' Southern Comfort,"Kind of New/Kind of Live" (Esoteric ECLEC 22359)-Former Fairport Convention frontman Iain Matthews has been blessed with one of the most haunting and evocative voices in folk-rock,but the Scunthorpe born musician seems to have purposely kept a very low profile since topping the singles charts long long ago in 1970 with an inspired cover of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock."After spending several decades pursuing a solo career in America Iain relocated to Holland in 2000,where he assembled a new version of Matthews Southern Comfort and recorded these two albums,blending new material with revamped golden oldies such as " Road To Ronderlin," "Blood Red Roses" and the perenially popular "Woodstock" itself.