Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week's alternative CD releases.

Jon Allen, "Blue Flame" (Monologue Records)-The sublime creative talents of this rare throwback to the golden age of music-making in the late sixties and early seventies were first discovered by no less a luminary than Mark Knopfler in 2006, and the great man later offered to play guitar for him too. "Blue Flame" represents the Winchester born singer-songwriter's most soulful offering to date as he strives to recapture the appealing earthiness of the classic Stax and Atlantic recordings of the past via life enhancing gems such as the title tune, "Stay" and his current single, the joyous "Jonah's Whale."

Doc Watson, "Sittin' On Top Of The World" (Wienerworld)- The excellent Wienerworld label's latest foray into the world of vintage American roots music features two rare performances from homespun guitar ace Doc Watson, recorded long ago in March 1964. Watson's later recordings would all feature his son Merle on rhythm guitar until the latter's untimely death in a tractor accident in 1985 , but the North Carolina native operated equally well as a solo act, applying his dazzling instrumental technique to fine ditties such as "I Am A Pilgrim," "Old Mountain Dew" and "Farewell Blues."

Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints, "texas, etc..." (DollyRocker Recordings)- Prolific songwriter Jeb Barry delves deeply into the dark underside of the American dream as he unveils his splendid new double album, "texas,etc..." The contents are equally divided between more muscular, full band arrangements and sparse, solo orientated ditties which compare favourably with the work of illustrious balladeers such as Guy Clark, Steve Earle and Townes van Zandt. "Gravel Roads and Whiskey Bars," "Galveston 92" and "I Can't Live In Houston Anymore" capture the essence of Jeb's appealingly world weary brand of Americana.

Nick J.D.Hodgson, "Tell Your Friends" (Prediction Records)- The multi-talented Mr.Hodgson was formerly the drummer and principal songwriter with Leeds indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs , leaving the band in late 2012 to pursue other musical projects. These projects didn't apparently include establishing himself as a solo performer but Hodgson now feels that the time is right for him to take the plunge, and "Tell Your Friends" serves up a string of skilfully crafted but rather underwhelming pop creations which might have benefitted from the presence of a more charismatic frontman on stand-out tracks such as "Thank You," "RSVP" or "Honest Face."