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What Kevin Heard: Willie Nelson breathes new life into Bob Dylan

Music reviewer Kevin Bryan reviews another selection of records from years gone by, including Something In The Water by Pokey LaFarge and Django and Jimmie by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

Willie Nelson breathes new life into Bob Dylan

Fancy picking up a new album to enjoy this spring but not sure what to go for?

Here's music reviewer Kevin Bryan's low-down on another selection of albums from years gone by:

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard - Django and Jimmie (Sony Music)

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard first worked together on the best-selling Pancho & Lefty album more than three decades ago, and the venerable country performers are now striving to recapture some of the old magic with the release of the excellent Django and Jimmie. The title track is the outlaw duo's touching tribute to the musical legacy of Jimmie Rodgers and legendary jazzman Django Reinhardt, and they also breathe new life into Dylan's Don't Think Twice, It's Alright and their own golden oldies such as Haggard's Swinging Doors and Nelson's Family Bible.

Pokey LaFarge - Something in the Water (Rounder Records)

St Louis-based roots musician Pokey LaFarge makes his Rounder Records debut with a gloriously wide-ranging set showcasing his distinctively Midwestern take on the delights of jazz, country blues, ragtime and Western swing. The wittily memorable closing track, Knockin' The Dust Off The Rust Belt Tonight, captures the essence of Pokey's admirably anachronistic approach to music-making, and should be required listening for open-minded record buyers everywhere.

The Pretty Things - The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now, Of Course...) (Repertoire Records)

You could be forgiven for thinking that these '60s malcontents would have given up the ghost long ago, but rather remarkably they've returned to the fray with a grittily memorable new album recorded in glorious analogue a few months ago. The creative nucleus of singer Phil May and guitarist Dick Taylor roll back the years as they deliver an uncompromising blend of new self-penned material and covers, including re-vamps of Sky Saxon's You Took Me By Surprise and The Byrds' Renaissance Fair. Splendid stuff.

Irnberger/Korstick - Beethoven: Violinsonaten Vol.2 (Gramola)

Austrian classical violinist Thomas Albertus Irnberger continues his exploration of the Beethoven repertoire, expertly underpinned by the sterling efforts of his piano playing cohort Michael Korstick. The four violin sonatas on offer capture some of the composer's most lyrical and expressive writing for the instrument, and Irnberger is in typically fine fettle throughout this excellent Gramola CD.

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