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What Kevin Heard: "A string of timeless showbiz standards" by Willie Nelson

Music reviewer Kevin Bryan looks at records from time gone by, including Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin by Willie Nelson and Live in Concert by Diana Jones

"A string of timeless showbiz standards" in Willie Nelson's Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin

Fancy picking up a new album to enjoy this week, 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, Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin (Sony Music)

The venerable Texan balladeer has recorded more than sixty albums during a career which now spans well over half a century, and the eclectic octogenarian's latest stylish offering pays homage to the musical legacy of songwriting duo George and Ira Gershwin.

A string of timeless showbiz standards are given the inimitable Nelson treatment in the process, including a couple of vocal duets, "Embraceable You" with Sheryl Crow and "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" with Cyndi Lauper of "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" fame. Splendid stuff.

Diana Jones, Live in Concert (Proper Records)

This compelling live offering was recorded at various venues in the Netherlands, Ireland and The UK, and provides an ideal vehicle for the pure brand of Americana that has become Tennessee born Jones' musical trademark.

The eighteen mesmerising tracks captured here include unadormed and heartfelt performances of the cream of Diana's illustrious back catalogue, as well as three hitherto unreleased songs, "Prayer For My Brother," "Happiness" and the show­stopping finale, "My Last Call".

Saffron Summerfield, Salisbury Plain / Fancy Meeting You Here! (Talking Elephant)

It can sometimes seem as if every vinyl record that was ever released has found its way onto CD during the past three decades or so, but there are always more archive gems waiting to be rediscovered, and these fascinating mid­seventies essays in wistful English folk are certainly well worth a few hours of anyone's time.

Fame and fortune may have eluded this acoustic balladeer in the interim but Saffron's early work still repays closer investigation, particularly her affecting versions of the traditional ballad, "Dowie Dens O'Yarrow" and Lennon­-McCartney's "Eleanor Rigby".

Applewood Road (Gearbox Records)

This refreshingly uncomplicated package was the brainchild of three songwriters, Amber Rubarth, Emily Barker and Amy Speace, who joined forces a few months ago to record their sweetly harmonised brand of Americana around a single microphone in a rootsy celebration of the delights of analogue sound.

The finished product is delivered with poise, confidence and charm. with "Row Boat," "Lovin' Eyes" and "To The Stars" emerging as musical highlights.

Want to listen to more new music? Check out our weekly Unsigned Friday columns for new talent

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