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What Kevin Heard: Strawbs' Access All Areas a 'jaunt down memory lane'

Music reviewer Kevin Bryan reviews another selection of records from years gone by, including Access All Areas by Strawbs and 10,000 Light Years Ago by John Lodge

Access All Areas by Strawbs is a "highly distinctive offering"

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

Strawbs - Access All Areas (Edsel Records)

Edsel's splendid Access All Areas series gives discerning punters an opportunity to immerse themselves in the illustrious back catalogues of some of Britain's finest rock bands, and this highly distinctive offering focuses attention on the folk tinged repertoire of Dave Cousins and The Strawbs. The contents were recorded for Central TV in June 1990, and found Cousins and his cohorts taking a memorable jaunt down memory lane as they revisited golden oldies such as The Hangman and the Papist, Hero and Heroine and Lay Down alongside Dave's poignant tribute to his old friend and former Strawb Sandy Denny, Ringing Down The Years.

John Lodge - 10,000 Light Years Ago (Cherry Red/Esoteric)

John Lodge solo albums are almost as rare as the proverbial hen's teeth, but the Moody Blues bass player has finally unveiled the seriously overdue follow-up to 1977's Natural Avenue, joining forces with former bandmates Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder for this stylistically varied but largely uneventful exercise in subdued prog-rock. Fellow veteran Chris Spedding played on Lodge's previous solo offering and the demon guitarist is in particularly fine fettle here too, embellishing fine tracks such as In My Mind and 10,000 Light Years Ago itself with his subtle and inventive artistry.

Mark Brown - Skin & Bone

Mark Brown may not be a household name just yet, but this Maryland native's rare ability to distill the essence of the human condition via a few well chosen words has already prompted comparisons with the likes of Tom Waits, Jonathan Richman and '70s acoustic icon John Prine of Sam Stone and Hello in There fame. Mark's songs are peopled with colourful characters doing their level best to cope with the less appealing aspects of the fabled American dream, and newcomers to his beguiling approach to music-making would be well advised to lend an ear to fine tracks such as See You Next Time, When The Time Comes or the touching closer, Granny.

The Lemon Pipers - Green Tambourine (Talking Elephant)

This newly remastered CD explores the mildly psychedelic musical outpourings of The Lemon Pipers, the classic "one hit wonders" who enjoyed a brief flirtation with fame and fortune when Green Tambourine topped the US singles charts in early 1968. The Oxford, Ohio band were never really comfortable with the overtly commercial fare which their record company and management pressured them into performing however, and the whole Lemon Pipers project imploded soon afterwards, with the epic Byrds influenced closer,Through With You offering a tantalising glimpse of their sadly unfulfilled musical potential.

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