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

The Damned, "Evil Spirits" (Search and Destroy / Spinefarm Records)- The Damned were always one of the most musically accomplished bands to emerge from the punk movement of the late seventies, and they return to the fray after a ten year absence from the recording process with a splendid new album overseen by legendary producer Tony Visconti of David Bowie and T.Rex fame. This crowd-funded masterwork leans heavily on the creative contributions of founder members Dave Vanian and Captain Sensible as The Damned unveil an eclectic package graced with memorable ditties such as "Standing On The Edge of Tomorrow," "Devil In Disguise" and the sublimely Gothic "Shadow Evocation" for your listening pleasure.

Brian Auger and the Trinity & Julie Driscoll, "Untold Tales of the Holy Trinity" (Wienerworld)-This historic showcase for the instrumental artistry of organ wizard Brian Auger draws on some seemingly long lost concert recordings from the golden year of 1968. The charismatic Julie Driscoll lends a hand on vocals as Auger and his gifted cohorts tackle covers of Aretha Franklin's "Save Me" and The Beatles' "A Day in the Life," before he switches from Hammond B3 to piano to apply his distinctive musical imprint to Mose Allison's "If You Live," Donovan's "Season of the Witch" and the era defining "This Wheel's On Fire."

Dickey Betts & Great Southern, "Southern Jam New York 1978" (Wienerworld)-Florida born guitarist Dickey Betts is best remembered these days for his eloquent contributions to the Allman Brothers' string of classic Southern Rock albums during the early seventies, but his subsequent solo output often seems to have slipped by largely unnoticed, despite the undoubted quality of efforts such as this. This live set was recorded for a New York radio station in 1978, blending freshly minted new songs with extended revamps of old Allmans favourites such as "Jessica," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and their upbeat 1973 hit, "Ramblin' Man."

John Prine,"The Tree of Forgiveness" (Oh Boy Records)-The former Chicago mailman may be a senior citizen these days but he's yet to lose the ability to conjure up a memorable turn of phrase which made his work so memorable during his creative heyday in the early seventies. None of the new songs featured here pack the searing emotional punch of timeless Prine creations such as "Sam Stone" or "Angel From Montgomery," but the venerable singer-songwriter's first album of original material since 2005's Grammy Award winning "Fair and Square" remains a life enhancing gem of the highest order, liberally peppered with some quirkily memorable slices of social observation led by "Lonesome Friends of Science" and "Caravan of Fools."