Ben Miller Band,”Any Way, Shape or Form” (New West Records)-The Ben Miller Band trio
make their New West debut with a fine album which showcases the exhilarating blend of rock, mountain music and delta blues which has become this hard-working Missouri based trio’s trademark over the years. Miller and his cohorts worked closely with producer Vance Powell to capture their defiantly lo-tech approach to music-making in all its’ homespun glory and this delightfully eclectic package is the result,including a startling version of the old Appalachian folk song “The Cuckoo,” complete with effects laden electric spoons work from drummer Doug Dicharry.
Manny Charlton,”Sharp / Sharp Re-Loaded” (Angel Air SJPCD448)- Charlton’s bluesy guitar work was one of the most attractive features of the gritty Nazareth sound which brought the band so much chart success during the mid-seventies but he finally left the fold in 1990 ,and his subsequent solo career has been a much more low key affair. This CD re-issue brings together two albums which first saw the light of day a decade or so ago,highlighting the Spanish born musician’s rare prowess as a guitarist and the undeniable truth that he’s no great shakes as a vocalist as Manny serves up his singular covers of everything from Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” to Tim Hardin’s poignant “Hang On To A Dream” and former Byrd Gene Clark’s almost wilfully poetic “Strength of Strings.”
Luke Sital-Singh, “The Fire Inside” (Parlophone Records)- Great things have been predicted for this unusually gifted singer-songwriter,whose musical exploits to date have already prompted comparisons with the likes of Jeff Buckley,Neil Young and Bon Iver. Luke’s debut album,”The Fire Inside” provides an ideal vehicle for his compelling brand of heartfelt acoustic balladry as the South London troubadour’s voice trembles with barely supressed passion during stand-out tracks such as “Nothing Stays The Same,” “Greatest Lovers” and “Cornerstone.”
Cabaret Voltaire,”#7885-Electropunk to Technopop” (Mute Records)- Sheffield’s Cabaret Voltaire were one of the inventive outfits at the forefront of the UK Electronic Movement during the late seventies,and this interesting new Mute anthology places some of their early experimental recordings alongside examples of the much more commercial material that founder members Richard H.Kirk and Stephen Mallinder captured for posterity a few years later. It’s their weirdly provocative early work which packs by far the greatest punch here however,led by “Do The Mussolini,” “Nag Nag Nag” and the perenially potent “Kneel To The Boss.”