So, here we are again having a look at some of the things that keep yours
truly occupied when not up to my eyes in editions of TWR.
First of all, it is my great pleasure to have the opportunity to review Chronicles, the posthumous album from the late, great Paul Young. Yes, I admit it, I am reviewing this one through rose tinted spectacles. My memories of Paul with both Sad Café and Mike & The Mechanics are too strong to do otherwise. Compiled from material which Paul had been working on in his studio prior to his death, what we have here is far removed from merely a collection of half-finished demos. Oh no, what you have here is a further demonstration (if one were needed) of exactly how talented a songwriter Paul was. The material here ranges from songs such as the album’s opener; A House Of Many Nations and Your Shoes, which would not be out of place on a new Mike & The Mechanics album. While Loss Of Innocence serves to remind us of the essential rocker which Paul was, always a front man who enjoyed working a crowd, this one would have been a belter! Other tracks such as Grace Of God and Here Comes The Future are redolent with the same stylish trademarks which made Sad Café such a popular and much missed band. With a plethora of other well known artists including most of the remaining members of Sad Café, Eric Stuart and Graham Gouldman from Ten CC and Mike Rutherford as well, this is a polished and musically excellent album and one which is a fitting tribute to Paul’s talents - God bless ya mate, we miss you!
Paul Young : Chronicles. Escape Music ESM223.
Next up, we have delightful album from Nick Magnus and John Hackett. 2010 Live is exactly what it says on the cover; a live compilation from the duo’s shows last year where they opened the show for eccentric Italian Proggers; The Watch. Here we have a marvellous selection of material from both protagonists’ solo albums performed impeccably as you would expect. Augmented by Giorgio Gabriel, the guitarist from The Watch, the trio breathe new life into some classic tunes. Particular favourites for me are Jazz On A Summer’s Night, Fantasy and Double Helix which are truly delightful in the live context. Fans of Nick and John’s work will swallow this collection with a heap of collective glee - excellent stuff all round!
John Hackett & Nick Magnus: 2010 Live. Magick Nuns Records MNCD 1003.
(Available from John and Nick’s web sites : www.johnhackett.com and www.magns-music.com and from Steve Hackett’s web site: www.hackettsongs.com)
Finally in this round up we have Director’s Cut, the latest offering
from Kate Bush. Revisiting two of her later period albums; The Sensual World
and The Red Shoes, here we have Kate’s own re-interpretation of these
works. As such some of the tracks work better in their revised format but others
don’t really benefit from this treatment at all. The successes far outweigh
the failures though and on the Director’s Cut disc of this collector’s
edition triple CD, tracks such as Flower Of The Mountain and Deeper Understanding,
already classics in Kate’s canon, take on an entirely new lease of life
here and delight the listener in new and often unexpected ways. A thoughtful
work, but you wouldn’t really expect anything else from Kate now, would
Kate Bush: Director’s Cut Collector’s Edition. Fish People 5099902777320.