Status Quo, “The Early Years (1966-69)” (BMG)- Status Quo completists would be well advised to snap up a copy of this 5 CD retrospective post haste, as it serves up a pretty comprehensive overview of the band’s early vinyl output, including a generous helping of tracks from Francis Rossi and company’s previous musical exploits with The Spectres and Traffic Jam. The latter outfits adopted a fairly scattergun approach to their choice of material during the mid sixties as they tackled songs made famous by The Bee Gees and Tom Jones amongst others, but chart success finally came their way with “Pictures of Matchstick Men” in 1968. This classic slice of pop psychedelia is one of the highlights of a beautifully annotated package which also includes mono and stereo versions of Quo’s first two albums and an interesting assortment of outtakes, demos and rare BBC sessions from those distant days.

Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks,”Live in LA-1973” (Floating World)-This fascinating showcase for the talents of whimsically eccentric roots musician Dan Hicks and his like minded musical cohorts finds our hero exploring his love of country, jazz and Western swing in a typically quirky live set from the early seventies. As an added bonus the good people at Floating World have also unearthed a string of bonus tracks culled from Hicks’ shows some thirty years or so later, lending added charm to an eclectic package whose deliciously dated contents reflect the Arkansas born performer’s heart warming disdain for the commercial demands of the rock industry.

Emerson Palmer & Berry “3”, “Rockin’ The Ritz-NYC 1988” (Wienerworld)- The two surviving members of Emerson, Lake and Palmer recorded this energised live set at the Ritz in New York City for an FM radio broadcast in April 1988, with American multi instrumentalist Robert Berry stepping into the shoes sadly vacated by the late lamented Greg Lake. Their set list didn’t include any original ELP compositions but the band’s perennially popular instrumental interpretations of Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” and “Hoedown” were given an airing alongside extended covers of The Four Tops’ “Standing in the Shadows of Love” and The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High.” A good time was obviously had by all concerned, and this splendid vinyl double album should be required listening for ELP fans everywhere.