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

The Matthews Baartmans Conspiracy,”Distant Chatter” (Talking Elephant)- Many of Iain Matthews’ musical contemporaries from the early seventies may have fallen by the wayside over the years but the veteran singer-songwriter has still to lose his creative spark, and he’s recently been fronting the latest incarnation of Matthews Southern Comfort alongside multi-talented Dutch musician BJ Baartmans. The two friends have now taken to the recording studio as a subtly memorable duo to record “Distant Chatter” as they celebrate the healing power of music in these troubled times. “I’ve Gone Missing,” “Is This It” and “Here’s Looking At You” capture the essence of their mature and reflective approach to the art of music-making.

Krissy Matthews,”Pizza Man Blues” (Ruf Records)- Anglo-Norwegian singer-guitarist Krissy Matthews makes his Ruf Records debut with a deliciously bluesy package which also dabbles with the delights of rock,funk and country. When the Covid 19 pandemic temporarily put paid to Matthews’ hopes of earning an honest living from his dayjob as an integral member of Germany’s Hamburg Blues Band alongside rock luminaries such as Maggie Bell and Clem Clempson he has been forced to take up a variety of occupations in order to keep body and soul together, including working as a tree surgeon’s assistant and pizza delivery driver. The latter job description inspired the title of this excellent CD, which was written and recorded during the lockdown and is well worth forty minutes or so of anyone’s time.

Hardin & York, “Can’t Keep A Good Man Down” (Cherry Red)- This expansive 6 CD set shines a welcome spotlight on the musical output on one of the most attractive musical partnerships to ply their trade during the late sixties and early seventies.The duo liked to describe themselves as “the world’s smallest big band,” and the melodically inventive sound created by singer and keyboard ace Eddie Hardin and drummer Pete York certainly repays closer investigation, with the former prompting comparisons with Traffic’s Steve Winwood as his vocals and organ work embellish soulful gems such as “Tomorrow Today.”