Stax Classics Otis Redding / Sam and Dave

Released as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration, the Stax Classics series highlights some of the label’s biggest stars from the 1960s and 70s, budget-priced albums offering a dozen songs that “transcend the obvious hits”, as the PR says. (Also see the Bookers and Carla Thomas) According to one review, Otis Redding arrived in […]

Booker T and the MGs, Carla Thomas, Stax Classics

Released as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration, the Stax Classics series highlights some the label’s biggest stars from the 1960s and 70s, budget-priced albums offering a dozen songs that “transcend the obvious hits”, as the PR says. This week, we’ve got two to review. Booker T and the MGs were the house band […]

Van Morrison: The Authorised Bang Collection

Yet another three-CD re-issue for Van fans, and this is pretty good. Although some tracks have knocked around as bootlegs, and Morrison clearly had issues with Bang at the time, he writes the sleeve notes and says Bang owner Bert Berns (who wrote Here Comes The Night) was a genius with soul. Berns met Morrison […]

Gorillaz:Humanz / Paul Weller: A Kind Revolution / Paramore: After Laughter

We’re lumping these albums together under the heading “stadium bands” because all we need to do is tell you they’re out. Oddly enough, we’ve never been fans of any: we never got Gorillaz, thought The Jam/Weller humourless (good singles, admittedly) and Paramore are the band we let the children like (they’ve got to have something […]

Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou: Madjafalao

This is surely going to go down as a classic in world music. It’s ace. Poly Rythmo are from Benin and play afrobeat, funk, soukous and other styles, often based on religious music rhythms. They formed in 1966 and recorded around 500 songs between the late 1960s and early 1980s. We came across them via […]

Trainspotting: OST

Trainspotting was a hit film in 1996, both the film and the Britpop soundtrack summed up the state of the UK at the time. Britpop was never our cup of tea, with a few exceptions; rock stars shouldn’t hobnob with prime ministers either. Pulp and a few others aside, there were loads of rubbish bands […]

Columbo: We Know Who You Are

At first listen, we though this band was either eccentrically brilliant or just eccentric. Anything that includes the hook from the Good The Bad And The Ugly and the classic theme from Rhubarb And Custard has got to be something to do with inspired. Maybe not actually inspired, but at least living next door. The […]

Saint Leonard’s Horses: Good Luck Everybody

This album will be a classic. You read it here first, so remember. Kieran Leonard (who is Saint Leonard’s Horses) has a cv to make you feel totally inadequate — he’s spent much his life travelling and the people he comes across recognise a unique talent: Ryan Adams let him use his studio, Stanley Kubrick’s […]

Dr John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell: This Time It’s Personal

The original new wave poet and Strangler produce an album of their favourite tunes. Given that an early Stranglers classic was Walk On By it’s perhaps no surprise; what is a surprise is how good Cooper Clarke’s voice is; think Richard Hawley. Nearly as good as Walk On By is their cover of MacArthur Park, […]

Haçienda Classiçal

Hooked On Classics was the album that gave the rock/classical crossover a bad name, classical hits over a lame dance beat. It didn’t deter people from mixing rock and orchestras; Metallica’s S&M (Symphony and Metallica) sold lots but was divisive. It always seems a bit of a flawed idea (unless you’re Jeff Lynne, in which […]