Lindsey Buckingham: Solo Anthology: The Best Of

Another boxset, this time from the guitarist fired by Fleetwood Mac; he’s so good they needed two players to replace him on tour, Mike Campbell and Neil Finn. Buckingham’s solo albums have always been gems, his voice good and his guitar work (obviously) outstanding. Unlike the Mac, it always sounds intimate and personal, as if […]

Engelbert Humperdinck: Warmest Christmas Wishes

Hump’s first Christmas album in almost 40 years (since A Merry Christmas With Engelbert Humperdinck, but you knew that) is so sweet it’ll make the brandy butter taste as bitter as the tears of Bambi’s mother. His last album The Man I Want to Be was pretty good (it’s Engelbert Humperdinck, we’ll never play it […]

Cilia Petridou: The Mystery of Christmas Greek Kalanda (carols)

This is a collection of songs for the festive season although, as it doesn’t sound “festive”, you get year-round value. The lyrics are Christmas-related but sung in Greek (translations provided). The sleeve/Press notes say that there is a tradition among the Greek people of the singing of carols (kalanda) on Christmas Eve. The notes reference […]

Phil Collins: Plays Well With Others

This box set is clearly an album for Christmas, and ideal for any fan of Collins. Who knew he’d played with so many people? And himself — by the definition of the title he counts playing with himself as worthy of inclusion, with half a dozen or so Collins songs, including In The Air, live. […]

Calendar Girls The Musical

  (Photo: John Swannell). Extraordinary tales about ordinary people make the very best stories and Calendar Girls The Musical is no exception. Showing at Hanley’s Regent Theatre this week, the show shines a light on the ubiquitous story of a group of WI members who bravely bared all for a fundraising calendar in memory of […]

John Smith: Hummingbird

Smith has always seemed to be the musician’s musician: the people we know who like him are musicians. We tried one of his albums once, but it was a little too workmanlike (sorry, “critically acclaimed”). This new one is much better, evidenced by the fact that we’ve been sent a review copy. They must be […]

Naji Hakim: Embrace Of Fire

This CD features works by Naji Hakim, revolving around organ and harpsichord. The main soloist is Simon Leach, joined for two works by a violinist and for one each by recorder and tenor. Opener Salve Regina (there are two versions) starts with lone vocal that’s melodic plainchant. A few toots on the organ and mournful […]

Christine and the Queens: Chris

Christine’s last album garnered good reviews but we never got it. We assumed the critics either lucked out — most time “critically praised” means “poor sales and disappears” — or we missed the point, because this new album is wonderful (… at least until we saw the last one sold 1m copies. What do we […]

Echo Town: Kin

There’s an obvious link between Cornwall and Australia — sun, surf, er, cheese factories — and the musical links run as close. A couple of weeks ago we reviewed the latest album from the Australian John Butler Trio, a sound we heard in part replicated by Cornish band Wille and the Bandits. Now comes Cornish […]

Mark Hodkinson: That Summer Feeling (book)

This gentle story is a modern follow-up to those kitchen sink dramas of the 60s, angry working class northern men living in poor accommodation (or with parents), dealing with the social taboos of the day. Those angry lads grew up to be the grumpy pensioners of this book, and their descendants are now as frustrated, […]