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CD Reviews

Sonido Gallo Negro - Mambo Cosmico (Glitterbeat)

Third album by Mexico City's psychedelic maestros, giving their variety of mambo, cha cha, porro and danzon tunes a kick into the 21st century. Imagine the Buena Vista Social Club arriving in Havana via spaceship rather than a 1950 open top Buick. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

The Turbans - The Turbans (Six Degrees Records)

Infectious grooves from the Balkan regions with individual band members roots in no less than seven countries, inevitably creating a rich mixture of sounds and styles, but firmly rooted in tradition, and all recorded in a Northumberland farmhouse. This stays on the player a good while. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Esme Bridie - Today it Rains (Klee Music)

Debut release from Merseyside singer songwriter whose strong songwriting credentials shine through the dozen mature songs included here, each one treated to fine small combo arrangements. This will not be the last we hear of Esme Bridie, for sure. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

African Connection - Queens and Kings (Cargo Records)

World fusion from Ghana, Denmark and the US inspired and influenced by the music of legendary Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. The collective's combination of Afrobeat, Highlife, Funk and good old Rock'n'Roll springs forth from the grooves inviting us all to dance, which we invariably do. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Joan Baez - Whistle Down the Wind (Proper)

Legendary figure of the Civil Rights movement, activist and enduring folk singer Joan Baez deserves our attention at the best of times. Here Joan pays tribute to some of her contemporary song builders through a beautifully weathered voice. Her final album? I sincerely hope not. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

Jerry Harmon - Walk Softly (Self Released)

Jerry Harmon's voice is warm and knowing, shot through with a slice of Townes Van Zandt knowing regret and Gordon Lightfoot's slurr. Backing is Nashville twang beautifully picked and strummed. Play this with the top down, focused on the desert horizon and you won't be disappointed. (MH)

Star rating: 
3

John Stamp - Franklin 54 (Simply Hymns)

Lived in vocals with integrity and a touch of Boo Hewerdine. Air punching 'outdoor summer festival' feel good songs. Fine duet with Leigh Nash from Sixpence None The Richer. Atmospheric guitar from Will Kimbrough. Familiar warming and smooth like an old acoustic. (MH)

Star rating: 
3

Oran Project - Music Without Borders (Self Release)

A real voyage of discovery as cultures merge to create some of the most compelling instrumental music gathered from places as far and wide as Morocco, sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius and Fife. Transcend your boundaries immediately with this as your dependable soundtrack. (AW)

Star rating: 
4

John Forrester - Restless (Irregular Records)

A rather engaging little album of reflective songs, written and performed seemingly from the heart after certain unexpected personal events. In essence, songs grown organically from the relatively simple and at the same time complex rhythm of life. (AW)

Star rating: 
3

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