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

Cara Dillon,"Wanderer" (Charcoal Records)- This enchanting offering finds award winning folkie Cara Dillon working in close collaboration with her husband and perennial musical partner Sam Lakeman once again as she immerses herself in a series of fine traditional ballads which explore the sadly all too familiar Irish themes of departure and longing for home. These pared down and intimate performances find Cara applying her distinctive crystalline tones to much loved ditties such as "Blackwater Side" and the majestic " Banks of the Bann," and Dillon's seventh studio album also boasts an affecting rendition of the great Dick Gaughan's heartfelt plea for Anglo-Scottish friendship and co-existence , "Both Sides The Tweed."

Bernard Allison, "Let It Go" (Ruf Records)- Chicago born songwriter and guitarist Bernard Allison marks his return to the Ruf Records fold with an uplifting album which captures his sublime blend of blues and funk at its most wide-ranging and accessible. Devotees of Allison's inventive brand of instrumental artistry should find more than enough material to sustain their interest here, with "Night Train," "Backdoor Man" and "Blues Party" emerging as stand-outs, the latter visualising a star-studded celestial jam session with giants of the genre such as John Lee Hooker, B.B.King and Robert Johnson in attendance.

UB40 featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey, "A Real Labour Of Love" (UMC)- The latest offering from the incarnation of pop-reggae outfit UB40 fronted by vocalist and founder member Ali Campbell is dominated by covers of some of the decade defining songs that the group would have been exposed to during their frequent visits to Jamaica in the eighties, along with a few earlier gems such as Culture's "International Herb" and Stevie Wonder's Motown classic, "A Place in the Sun." Ali and fellow UB40 stalwarts Astro and Mickey are in particularly fine fettle throughout this solidly entertaining jaunt down memory lane.

Big Country, "We're Not In Kansas : The Live Bootleg Boxset 1993-1998" (Cherry Red)- This defiantly rough and ready 5 CD set captures Stuart Adamson's rabble-rousing outfit in their natural element , delighting audiences around the globe with the cream of their illustrious back catalogue alongside covers of such disparate masterworks as Smokey Robinson's "Tracks Of My Tears" and Neil Young's "Rockin' In The Free World." Big Country completists should welcome this heaven sent opportunity to lay their hands on some hitherto unreleased recordings from a period in the band's career when their old fame and fortune had begun to seem like little more than a distant memory.