This week Kevin looks at a range of records from Americana to Olympic theme tun composer Van Gelis.
The Flatlanders, “The Odessa Tapes” (New West Records)- The contents of this splendid alternative country-rock set were thought to have been lost forever until the bassist on the original sessions discovered a dusty reel-to-reel tape in his closet,and the contents have now been released in CD form for the first time.The Flatlanders’ creative trimuvirate of Butch Hancock,Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely recorded “The Odessa Tapes” as simple, unadorned demos for their subsequently shelved 1972 debut album, with Gilmore handling the vocal duties on some classic slices of Americana such as “Dallas,” “Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown” and “Down In My Hometown.”
Jerry Douglas,” Traveler” (Proper / Membran 233577)- You may have come across dobro player Douglas in his role as musical director on the BBC’s “Transatlantic Sessions” series, where his matchless musicianship has underpinned the efforts of luminaries such as James Taylor and Paul Brady in a celebration of music-making at its most relaxed and intimate.. Jerry’s new solo album is a similarly star-studded affair,with contributions from Alison Krauss , Eric Clapton and Mumford and Sons reinforcing the appeal of an eclectic collection which finds the veteran sideman applying his considerable skills to everything from Leadbelly’s “On A Monday” to Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer,” the latter track featuring Paul Simon himself on keyboards and vocals.
Luke Haines, “Outsider / In :The Collection” (Music Club MCDLX 165)- Luke Haines may have been rather innacurately hailed as one of the founding fathers of Britpop, but in reality this provocative singer-songwriter has always marched to the beat of a markedly different drum. Haines’ uniquely contrary approach to his craft is well represented here by some fine examples of his work with The Auteurs, including “Lenny Valentino,” “The Upper Classes” and “Starstruck,” alongside a generous helping of solo material and four challenging tracks from his mid nineties side project,Baader Meinhof.
Laibach, “An Introduction To..Laibach / Reproduction Prohibited” (Mute Records)- Industrial rhythms a plenty dominate the latest offering from Slovenian avant-garde specialists Laibach,who’ve taken this opportunity to bring together their radical re-inventions of songs first recorded by such unlikely bedfellows as Bob Dylan, The Normal and one-hit wonders Europe. The finished product is more than a little unsettling ,including seriously distorted versions of the British and German national anthems,Queen’s “One Vision” and The Beatles’ “Across The Universe” culled from Laibach’s extensive back catalogue.
Vangelis,”The Collection” (Rhino Records)- The extensive use of Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire” theme in this year’s Olympics ceremonies has prompted a resurgence of interest in the veteran electronic composer’s work,and this new anthology features many of the Greek musician’s most popular creations. The contents are divided fairly equally between extracts from his celebrated film scores for epics such as “Blade Runner” and “1492-Conquest of Paradise” and a selection of more small scale and introspective compositions ,with the added bonus of four tracks from his successful collaboration with Yes vocalist Jon Anderson,including “I Hear You Now” and “I’ll Find My Way Home.”