It’s been years since the ever-astonishing Sam Brown lost her vocal power and turned into a proponent of ukulele delights, yet a myriad of the singer’s fans still find a lot of pleasure in her records. She was able to deliver a piece of any genre, in the studio and on stage, but the English artist’s discography never included a concert album – her backing performances for other legends don’t count – so the emergence of such should feel sensational. Available now from Ms Samantha’s website, “Wednesday The Something Of April – The One Woman Show” is a document of her 2004 solo tour during which Brown delivered classics like “Stop” and deep cuts.
Tony McPhee might be less glorified – a criminal thing, really – than many of his peers, yet it wouldn’t be an underestimation to say that British – and therefore, global white – blues would have sounded differently without him and his GROUNDHOGS. But it wasn’t only with this group that the guitarist graced various stages, as Tony’s concert outings also included solo recordings and dates with TONY McPHEE’S BLUES BAND – another trio, which featured, alongside the leader, bassist Steve Towner and drummer Mick Kirton. Unfortunately, the latter collective’s recorded history is extremely scarce: just one single – “Time Of Action / Born To Be With You” – released in 1983. So the uncovering of an entire live tape seems like a great opportunity to hear what they were capable of on-stage.
It speaks volumes of the camaraderie the late Ronnie Lane instilled in his SLIM CHANCE that many years after the Face’s untimely passing his former collective play again – and not only play but also record. There have been a few of their albums in the last decade, and “The Phoenix Tapes” which will see the light of day on May 21st reflects on these ten years by bringing together tracks laid down during this period without making it to the disc. The cuts originally appeared on YouTube in 2020 to help alleviate aficionados’ psychological load during lockdown, and the fans’ feedback made the band release them on CD.
June 4th is to mark the six months since SPIRITS BURNING‘s latest album "The Hollow Lands" – the second collaboration between the American prog collective and English fantasy master Michael Moorcock – has seen the light of day, and it’s going to be the date when the ensemble’s new record is out. But “Evolution Ritual” will not be the third chapter in “The Dancers at the End of Time” trilogy – although Moorcock plays harmonica on three songs here and Don Falcone, the band’s mastermind, has already started working on the the musical adaptation of “The End Of All Songs” which he plans to release in 2022. As of the forthcoming offering, comprised of fresh pieces, it signals the group’s embracing of acoustic sounds.
Theo Travis has long been part of art-rock narrative without actually playing rock – instead, the reedman tends to demonstrate his progressive proclivities in the fields of jazz and folk – which is why the veteran’s solo albums are so varied and interesting. Theo’s next one is titled “Songs From The Apricot Tree” and scheduled for release on June 1st, and it’s a tad unusual, thanks not only to the presence of prominent guests on these ten cuts but also to the ratio of Travis originals to cover pieces – and those pieces relation to his biography. More so, while saxophone and flute are here as well, pride of place on this record is given to duduk, an Armenian instrument whose sound complements the familiar melodies of “Magdalene” that Theo laid down with GONG long ago to revisit now, and the perennial “The Shadow Of Your Smile” and spices up his take on David Sylvian’s “Brilliant Trees” that Travis used to perform live, and “A Feeling Begins” by Peter Gabriel that was the first song he heard duduk on.