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Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some new CD releases

Various Artists,”Blues Like Showers of Rain” (Saydisc)- The final offering in Saydisc’s excellent Matchbox Bluesmaster series is a 6 CD anthology focussing attention on some of the British country blues performers who were plying their trade on vinyl between the years of 1966 and 1976. The great Jo-Ann Kelly and her brother Dave of Blues Band fame set the ball rolling in fine style with their impassioned renditions of Memphis Minnie’s “Nothin’ in Ramblin’” and Eli Green’s “A Few Short Lines” respectively, and this beautifully packaged collection also boasts excellent contributions from long forgotten figures such as The Panama Limited Jug Band, bottleneck guitarist Mike Cooper and eccentric Bristol pianist Quentin Williams.

Burt Bacharach,”Dream Big-The First Decade of Songs” (Cherry Red)- The late great Burt Bacharach tends to be lazily pigeonholed as an “easy listening” songwriter but in reality he deserves to be recognised as one of the sixties’ leading pop tunesmiths, crafting a string of timelessly memorable hits for the likes of Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black and, most notably, Dionne Warwick. Cherry Red’s new 4 CD anthology concentrates on Burt’s creative output from a slightly earlier period. Including historic recordings made by everyone from Marlene Dietrich to Teny Bennett and The Drifters alongside a selection of works by the classical composers whose music influenced Bacharach during his formative years.

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