Reviews roundup – Jarkka Rissanen Vs. Ruby Dee vs. Days Of Confusion vs. Vince Hill


71huzrk2bl4l-_ss500JARKKA RISSANEN & The Sons of The Desert
Hybrid Soul

Slide guitarist Jarkka Rissanen has been performing for nigh on forty years now and is a leading figure in the Finnish roots music scene. Most recently he recorded an album of traditional blues and gospel but now he’s back with an album of original material.

Despite his lengthy career this is only his fifth solo album and sees him alongside his band Markus Väisänen (guitar), Tatu Back (bass guitar) and Esa Kärki (drums). And they’re very good at what they do and what they do is melodic roots rock with some bluesy riffs and tones.

A lot of it harks back to the seventies which is no bad thing although when they try to channel a reggae vibe it does go a bit pear shaped. Unfortunately the worst offenders are all front loaded on the album so it was only sheer bloody mindedness that kept me going until “Safari Beat” and “Slow” got me back on board.

Stick around long enough and you’ll find an enjoyable roots release.



81njgan2bzel-_sl1200_RUBY DEE & The Snakehandlers
Little Black Heart
Catty Town Records

To Seattle now but not for any of that grunge crap. Nope it’s time for some rockabilly, country and Western Swing courtesy of Ruby Dee & The Snakehandlers.

And this was a lot of fun. Although it’s all forties and fifties retro it comes with a punchy production and some fiery performances. It sounds raw and edgy giving off an aura of excitement so often lacking in modern music.

But that would be nothing without some decent songs to back it up and there are plenty of them on offer. The swinging “Not For Long” and “Can You Spare A Match?” are album highlights as is “Put You Down”. There are a couple of missteps with “I See Green” the bummer in chief but if you’re mourning the loss of Imelda May to the world of corporate pap then this coul be your new best friend.



515z-vunnnl-_ss500DAYS OF CONFUSION
Yin & Out

You know I’m often to be heard bemoaning the lack of Romanian prog metal round my way so thank goodness for Days of Confusion who have sorted me out big time.

Now they are very much on the metal side of the scene with some rather large in your face Meshuggah influences to the fore but when they manage to control themselves then they have a lot to offer to the scene.

Apparently some of the material here goes back a few years but the sound throughout the album manages to remain cohesive with the requisite number of insane time and rhythm changes popping up in the all the usual unexpected places. Strange to relate that this has come out on the Universal label in Romania as the likes of “Kagemusha”, “Killing You Is Killing Me” and “Bloodstream” would normally be enough to have a major running for the hills.

Recommended to those who like their head split open on a regular basis.


516hg7fim6lVINCE HILL
His Greatest Love Songs (The CBS Years)

There’s a name from my childhood! You couldn’t switch on the telly without Vince popping up on just about every variety show going. Of course nowadays he’s probably only remembered for his hit version of “Edelweiss” but this compilation should sort that out now problem.

Celebrating 55 years of Vince Hill’s solo singing career, ‘His Greatest Love Songs (The CBS Years)’ compiles 22 of his finest romantic renditions, remastered from the original 70s masters, and two previously unreleased tracks.

And he’s a much better singer than I remember as he manages to find a different way through some well covered songs like “The Theme From ‘Mahogany’ (Do You Know Where You’re Going To)” and “I Honestly Love You”. There’s even a couple of self penned numbers which show how things could have went had he arrived on the scene ten years later.

Definitely worthy of new appreciation.