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What Kevin Heard: Lend an ear to "meticulously crafted gems" by Guy Clark

Music reviewer Kevin Bryan reviews another selection of records from years gone by, including Excess All Areas by Rick Wakeman and Liverpool Sounds : 75 Classics From The Singing City

"Lend an ear to meticulously crafted gems" of Guy Clark

Fancy picking up a new album to enjoy this autumn, 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:

Guy Clark, "Boats To Build / Dublin Blues" (Morello / Cherry Red Records)

Guy Clark's rare talents as a singer-songwriter have sadly never been translated into solid record sales but the gifted Texan balladeer has soldiered on regardless, and these splendid offerings from the early nineties provide an ideal introduction to this master wordsmith's perceptive narrative style.

Americana and alternative country devotees would be well advised to lend an ear to meticulously crafted gems such as "Dublin Blues," "Picasso's Mandolin" and a richly resonant re-recording of "The Randall Knife," Clark's poignant elegy to his dead father, which had first appeared on his 1983 album, "Better Days."

Rick Wakeman, "Excess All Areas" ( Edsel Records)

Keyboardist Rick Wakeman's grandiose live shows had become synonymous with some of the worst excesses perpetrated in the name of prog-rock during his creative heyday in the seventies, but the former Yes stalwart was pursuing a much more pared down approach to music-making when the time came to record this splendid audio-visual package in 1990.

Rick's Nottingham audience were treated to a highly musicianly jaunt down memory lane, including some choice extracts from "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" and a fine new version of the epic "Journey To The Centre of the Earth."

"Liverpool Sounds : 75 Classics From The Singing City" (Fantastic Voyage)

This rather bizarre celebration of Liverpool's musical culture certainly ranges far and wide in its choice of subject matter, drawing on early contributions from The Beatles, Gerry and the Pacemakers and Billy Fury alongside offerings from comedians Ken Dodd and Arthur Askey, populist folkies The Spinners and larger than life jazzman George Melly to name but a few.

Fury's "Halfway To Paradise" and "Wondrous Place" are obvious highlights, and the 3 CD anthology opens and closes with the a and b sides of The Beatles' first Parlophone single, "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You."

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