New album releases: Steve Ellis, Robin Mckelle, Heidi Talbot & John McCusker | Music | Entertainment

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Unlike so many of his grizzled contemporaries, however, he has aged with grace, dignity and power intact.

Boom! Bang! Twang! is a gem, from the opening Black Sheep Boy, a Tim Hardin ballad that frames his warm, rasping tone to perfection, through superb originals like the impassioned Paul Weller co-write Lonely No More and the extraordinary, string-drenched Soul Trek (Holy Blue).

A great record and ineffably cool, too.

Rating: 5/5 – Album of the Week

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Robin Mckelle – Melodic Canvas

So many jazz vocalists fall into the usual, lazy suppertime swing clichés that New Yorker Robin McKelle’s album is a breath of fresh air.

Enriched by superb arrangements and sublime playing, songs like Lyla, about a troubled teenage girl, have a soulful power that is mesmerising.

Rating: 4/5

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Heidi Talbot & John McCusker – Love Is The Bridge Between Two Hearts

Two of the new folk movement’s most celebrated musicians, Heidi Talbot, a singer and instrumentalist from County Kildare, and Glaswegian fiddle player John McCusker, have made an album of rare delicacy.

Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, words by Ben Johnson, showcases Talbot’s wondrously open-hearted vocals.

The title track, written by McCusker, is simply beautiful.

Rating: 4/5

Alison Moyet – The Other Live Collection

With stunning electronic accompaniment courtesy of co-writer Guy Sigsworth, Alison Moyet, right, is making some of the fi nest music of her career.

Live versions of triumphs like The English U, a heartbreaking ballad addressing her late mother’s Alzheimer’s, and The Rarest Birds combine with old favourites including a bluesy version of Yazoo’s Only You.

Rating: 3/5

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Dean Friedman – “Well, Well”, Said The Rocking Chair – 40th Anniversary Edition

From the title track, a dialogue about a love affair conducted by inanimate objects, to the classic Lydia and Lucky Stars, Friedman’s 1978 breakthrough album exudes an off-beat, bitter-sweet charm and some terrific tunes.

Rating: 4/5 Reissue of the Week

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