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

Sam Baker,"Horses and Stars" (Self-Released)- This Texan troubadour's musical career could easily have ended before it began when he was the unfortunate victim of a terrorist attack on a Peruvian train in 1986, but he admirably overcame all the physical obstacles which came his way after this tragic event and is now firmly established as one of the Lone Star State's finest creative talents. Sam's new album,"Horses and Stars," was recorded live at the Imagine Event Center in Buffalo, NY in July 2018 and provides an intimate and affecting insight into the work of a performer whose evocative word pictures have prompted comparisons with luminaries such as Nick Cave,Shane MacGowan and fellow Texan Townes Van Zandt since his debut set was released fifteen years ago.

"Down Home Blues Chicago Volume 2-Sweet Home Anthology" (Wienerworld)- This lavishly annotated 5 CD anthology focusses attention on the cream of Chicago's blues talent from the mid forties through to the early sixties, drawing on alternate takes of many well known recordings culled from compiler Peter Moody's vast private collection. The list of participants runs the gamut from giants of the genre such as Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Elmore James to the unjustly obscure G.L.Crockett, Gus Jenkins and Lazy Bill, and the entire collection should be required listening for blues fans everywhere.

The Alarm,"Sigma" (The Twenty First Century Recording Company)- Many of his contemporaries from the immediate post punk era may have fallen by the wayside over the years but Alarm frontman Mike Peters still soldiers on regardless, and "Sigma" serves up a generous helping of the raw anthemic rock which has been their signature sound since the original incarnation of the band released their debut album, "Declaration," in 1984. They may not always have been the critics' favourites but Mike and his assorted cohorts have maintained a sizeable fan following throughout the past three decades or so and they're in particularly fine fettle here on stand-out tracks such as the epic "Armageddon in the Morning" and "Blood Red Viral Black," the latter boasting a welcome guest appearance from Cult guitarist Billy Duffy.

Scott Lavene,"Broke" (Funnel Music)-Romford born Scott Lavene is a musical storyteller of a distinctly quirky variety, creating what he himself describes as "weird and wonky pop" with an originality and flair which has led to him being pigeonholed alongside similarly gifted mavericks from Stiff Records' eighties roster such as Ian Dury, Wreckless Eric and Elvis Costello. Lavene seems totally at home in such illustrious company and "Broke" is a joy to behold from the first note to the last, with "My Stereo,""Light of the Moon" and "Methylated Blue" emerging as the best of an infectiously oddball bunch.