Kevin Ayers, "Falling Up" (Esoteric / Cherry Red)- The eighties weren't a particularly fruitful decade as far as the late Kevin Ayers was concerned, but this mildly dissolute character enjoyed a brief return to something approaching his brilliant best with the 1988 release of "Falling Up." Ayers celebrated the signing of a new contract with Virgin Records by decamping temporarily from his remote home in Mallorca to Madrid to assemble this typically quirky exercise in melodic prog rock. The finished product is now available once again in newly remastered form, with Ayers’ old friend Ollie Halsall chipping in eloquently on guitar alongside some newly recruited Spanish musicians as Kevin delighted his dedicated band of devotees with beguiling creations such as "That's What We Did (Today)," "Another Rolling Stone" and the enigmatic "Am I Really Marcel?"

Dave Mason,”Long Lost Friend-The Best of Dave Mason” (Floating World)- The former members of Traffic enjoyed varying degrees of commercial success after leaving the fold, with founder member Dave Mason the first to strike out on his own and the first to enjoy a degree of critical acclaim in his own right when his solo debut,”Alone Together,” was released in 1970. A string of moderately successful albums followed and this very listenable anthology captures the cream of the later recordings that the Worcester born singer and guitarist made for the CBS label over the years, showcasing the eminently tuneful “Every Woman” and “Show Me Some Affection” alongside live versions of classic Mason compositions such as “Only You Know And I Know” and “Feelin’ Alright.”

“Now Then : The Very Best of Richard Hawley” (BMG)- Sheffield’s finest musical ambassador has assembled a very impressive body of work during the twenty years or so that he’s spent as a solo performer, and the great man has now joined forces with his long term collaborator Colin Elliot to create this compelling overview of his recording career to date. The contents are drawn from the nine impeccable albums that Hawley has released to date, drawing on some sublime vehicles for the singer-guitarist’s expressive brand of romanticism led by “Coles Corner” and “Baby,You’re My Light.” Richard also turns in a heartfelt revamp of Dylan’s “Ballad Of A Thin Man” alongside the much more direct rock of “Which Way” and the moodily psychedelic “Standing At The Sky’s Edge” to set the seal on one of the most diverse and consistently memorable anthologies that you’ll be likely to hear in this or any other year.