THE MONTECRISTOS Born To Rock'n'RollTHE MONTECRISTOS
Born To Rock’n’Roll
Easy Action

Hello, this is rather good.  It’s the debut album from The Montecristos who are led by one Neal X ( Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Marc Almond Band), and they’re a high octane rock and roll slash rockabilly band.

As well as those, there are nods to surf music, and even some retreads of tunes from his Sigue Sigue Sputnik days, namely ‘Pussywhipper’,  ‘Love Missile F1-11’ and ‘Jayne Mansfield’.  there’s even a visit from his old boss, Marc Almond, who turns up to sing on the Vince Taylor chestnut ‘Brand New Cadillac’.

There’s a double bass and a horn section to boot, so it all sounds rather splendid.  It’s almost a well designed package, in a digipack with booklet, although the booklet and CD are extremely difficult to get out without ripping anything.  And I speak as someone with dainty hands, not muckle great cow pies.  Granted, it tails away over the last couple of tunes, but this is a very enjoyable slab of 21st century rock’n’roll.

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LAURA TATE I Must Be DreamingLAURA TATE
I Must Be Dreaming
independent

What do we have now?  Some rootsy, jazzy, bluesy, soulsy (eh?) music from Texan Laura Tate.  The album is subtitled ‘A Tribute To The Music Of Mel Harker’, who seems to be a songwriter that no-one has heard of.  Which is a real shame, as there are some very good tunes here indeed.

Ms Tate has a very listenable voice, and is particularly good at the ballads.  Mr Harker also has a way with words and melodies, so when the two combine on the best of this songs, then it’s a real treat.

And those best of songs include ‘Don’t Try To Talk Me Out Of Loving You’, ‘Cowboy Jazz’ and ‘Counting Up The Ways’, all of which deserve to be heard by a wide audience. And it’s not all doom and gloom, as she can rock it up a bit on the likes of ‘Snake Tattoo’ and ‘Dead End Road’, which shows off another side to her voice.  A fine listen.

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THE BETTY FOX BAND Slow BurnTHE BETTY FOX BAND
Slow Burn
independent

We’re still over in the American colonies, this time for some soul flecked blues, courtesy of the Betty Fox Band.  And she’s another lady with a very fine voice.

There is a lot of strutting going on her, with nods back to the Stax and Muscle Shoal sounds of yore, with a fine band pushing things along.  And that’s Kid Royal on guitar, Barry Williams on bass, Shawn Brown on keys and Sam Farmer on drums, who well deserve their The and Band.

There are some excellent grooves on display with ‘Think About It’, a fine example.  But she can also beg and plead the blues on ‘Baby Please’ before throwing in some jazzy licks on ‘Who’s Holdin’.  There’s even a solo, acoustic take on ‘Angel Flying Too Close To The Ground’, although it doesn’t come near the Willie Nelson version.  But then what would.

There are a couple of weaker songs in the middle of the album, but this is deserving of some success.

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KRISTYN MURPHY A Time To RememberKRISTYN MURPHY
A Time To Remember
independent

Ooh!  Celtic, classical crossover time.  That’s me sorted then.  Well, the Catholic Scotch part of me at least.

I’m a sucker for this sort of thing, and across 15 songs of Celtic, sacred, and Broadway music, Ms Murphy puts on a very good show indeed.  You won’t be surprised to learn that she’s a soprano, as that is de rigeuer for this style of music, but she’s a good one.  No shrill, window crackers here.

It’s full of songs that are well known in the mainstream, and although there are a couple that don’t come off, the majority do, with a special word of praise for ‘Wonderful Wonderful Day’, ‘Green Fields of France’ and ‘It’s a Grand Night for Singing’, the latter one of three duets with Abbie Stands.

If classical crossover is your thing, then this is well worth your attention.

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CONSIDER THE SOURCE World War Trio Parts II & IIICONSIDER THE SOURCE
World War Trio Parts II & III
Techne Records

Finally, for today, it’s a double concept album of instrumental prog rock.  With no keyboards.  Yes, you read that right, weaklings.  This is not a place for the weak hearted.

Now I liked Part 1, but that was a 23 minute EP, which is a whole different ballgame.  After all, I’m cracking on a bit, and my attention span isn’t what it was.  I’m just as likely to be distracted by a sparrow in the greenhouse for an hour, as I am to wade through whatever it was I was talking about in the last paragraph.  Oh, yes.

New York. Progressive rock trio.  Consider The Source.  As on the EP, this sees them mix seventies prog, jazz fusion and some almost prog metal.  This double album sees them expand into Middle Eastern rhythms and the kind of time changes that will do you a mischief.  It’s far too long for me, but for anyone looking for some extremely adventurous 21st century prog, then the ten minutes of ‘This Dubious Honor’ and ‘More Than You’ll Never Know’ are good places to start.

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