Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week's CD releases Rick Shea,"Love & Desperation" (Tres Pescadores Records)-It's a measure of the quality of the musicians involved that the contributors to "Love & Desperation" were able to assemble such an organic and heart warming package despite having to record their various parts remotely because of the exigencies of Covid 19. Rick Shea may not be a household name just yet but this gifted Southern Californian practitioner of Americana has created a very impressive body of work over the years, prompting favourable comparisons with the likes of Tom Russell, Dave Alvin and John Stewart along the way. Rick's twelfth album, "Love & Desperation," must rank as one of his finest offerings to date, liberally peppered with a series of captivating narratives led by "(Down at the Bar) at Gypsy Sally's," "She Sang of the Earth" and "Texas Lawyer."

John Hackett,"The Piper Plays His Tune" (Hacktrax)- This beguiling home produced offering provides an eloquent vehicle for the consumate artistry of the multi-talented John Hackett, whose instantly identifiable flute sound has graced many of his elder brother Steve's critically acclaimed prog-rock projects since the mid seventies. "The Piper Plays His Tune" captures John at his most melodic and accessible as he indulges his lifelong passion for the delights of good old fashioned pop music via skilfully executed solo ditties such as "Broken Glass," Julia" and the reflective "Too Late For Dreamers."

"Peephole in My Brain-The British Progressive Pop Sounds of 1971" (Grapefruit/Cherry Red)- This eccentrically assembled 3 CD set ranges far and wide in its choice of subject matter as it strives to present an authentic portrait of the wildly eclectic musical culture of Britain in the early seventies. A vast array of interesting obscurities dominate the proceedings, although the good people at Grapefruit have also found the space to include a string of bona fide archive gems from the likes of Kevin Ayers, Atomic Rooster, The Move and Curved Air,whose insidiously memorable offering,"Back Street Luv," is one of the highlights of the entire package.