Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week's alternative CD releases.
Bob Young, "Back in Quo Country" (HNE / Cherry Red)- Bob Young began his long and fruitful relationship with Status Quo in 1968, going on to serve time as their tour manager and blow a mean harmonica on many of the band's recordings as well as co-writing classic creations such as "Down Down," "Caroline" and "Paper Plane" with frontman Francis Rossi. This expanded version of his excellent 1986 solo debut features Young's subtly country tinged revamps of some choice extracts from Quo's illustrious back catalogue boasting top notch instrumental contributions from the likes of Albert Lee, Rockpile guitarist Billy Bremner and Bob's old friends Rossi and the late lamented Rick Parfitt.
The Most Ugly Child,"Copper and Lace" (Self Released)- This six piece band provides a splendid performing vehicle for the supremely gifted songwriting duo of Daniel Wright and Stevie-Leigh Goodison, and their eagerly anticipated debut album serves up a generous helping of the heartwarming Americana which has become their trademark during the past few years. The sense of timeless authenticity which permeates their work is all the more surprising when you bear in mind that The Most Ugly Child actually hail from Nottingham, and you'd certainly have to be cursed with a heart of stone to remain unmoved by affecting ditties such as "Roses," "What Might Have Been" or "Just Another Lesson in Pain."
Livingston Taylor, "Safe Home" (Chesky Records)- Livingston Taylor may never have scaled the heights of rock stardom enjoyed by his brother James , but this affable singer-songwriter has assembled an impressive body of work during the past half century nonetheless. This typically mellow and melodic offering finds Livingston sharing the vocal duties with Chelsea Berry as he blends freshly minted new material with covers of some of the songs which captured his heart during his schooldays in North Carolina, including The Everlys' "Bye Bye Love," Judy Garland's "Over The Rainbow" and a jazz inflected revamp of The Beatles' "Penny Lane."
Moody Marsden, "The Night The Guitars Came To Play" (Talking Elephant)- This robust package captures the duo's performance at the Wirral Guitar Festival in 1995 , where former Whitesnake guitarists Micky Moody and Bernie Marsden were able to indulge their passion for old school rock guitar in front of a highly receptive live audience. The bulk of the set was drawn from the demon axemen's then current album, "Real Faith," but they also tackled a couple of old Whitesnake crowd-pleasers, "Belgian Tom's Hat Trick" and "Ain't Gonna Cry No More" alongside scorching revamps of Freddie King's "Tore Down" and Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well." Splendid stuff.