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

Paul Carrack, "These Days" (Carrack-UK)- Paul Carrack has plied his trade with some excellent rock and pop outfits over the years, including successful stints with the likes of Ace, Squeeze and Mike and the Mechanics to name but a few. The Sheffield born singer, guitarist and keyboards ace is now firmly established as a significant performer in his own right too, and his latest solo set serves up a generous helping of mature and effortlessly melodic pop-soul featuring telling contributions from top notch sidemen such as guitarist Robbie McIntosh, drummer Steve Gadd and legendary saxist Pee Wee Ellis of James Brown fame.

"Ska Anthems" (Union Square Music)- This five CD celebration of the delights of Jamaican music features contributions from many of the best known names in ska and reggae, including Desmond Dekker, The Maytals and Jimmy Cliff. The astute compilers at Union Square have also found space for some choice offerings from the British 2 Tone bands who were influenced by this infectious musical genre during their formative years, with The Beat's "Mirror in the Bathroom" and live versions of The Selecter's " On My Radio" and "Three Minute Hero" making an appearance alongside some deliciously obscure ditties from the likes of Lord Tanamo, Bibby & The Astronauts and The Three Tops.

David Olney, "This Side or The Other" (Black Hen Music)- Veteran singer-songwriter Olney has been one of Americana's most prolific performers for more than three decades now, delivering his moodily memorable reflections on the human condition with an eloquence and honesty which has earned him the admiration of such illustrious peers as Emmylou Harris and the late great Townes van Zandt. Nashville session legend Charlie McCoy brings his harmonica expertise to bear on a fine set as Olney and his excellent band revisit back catalogue gems such as "Border Town" and "Running From Love" alongside some thought provoking new material and a rootsy cover of The Zombies' 1965 hit, "She's Not There."

Chilly Gonzalez, "Solo Piano III" (Gentle Threat)- Classically trained Canadian pianist Jason Beck completes his acclaimed solo piano trilogy with the release of this exquisitely crafted set. The musical purity of this inventive and intimate package won't come as a surprise to those fortunate music lovers who've been exposed to Beck's work in the past, prompting comparisons with classical composers of a bygone age such as the similarly unconventional Erik Satie.