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MUSIC Album reviews

Latest releases from Hawkwind, Stevie Palmer and Olney and Anna Kaye

Hawkwind
50th Anniversary Live
(Cherry Red)
★★★

THE various incarnations of Hawkwind, plying their trade onstage since the 1960s, have never placed too great an emphasis on technical expertise as they’ve gone about their business.

But this hasn’t been too much of a hindrance to the band, as their unique sound has lost little of its appeal along the way.

The legendary space rockers have gone through a whole host of line-up changes over the years but guitarist Dave Brock has remained at the helm throughout their five decades together and this atmospheric two-CD set finds Brock and company in typically fine fettle as they celebrate half a century’s worth of exemplary music-making.

An enjoyable jaunt down memory lane, it boasts their energised revamps of back catalogue gems such as Master of the Universe, Hurry On Sundown and their 1972 hit anthem Silver Machine.

Stevie Palmer
We Become The Sunshine
(Greentrax)
★★★★

THE latest offering from multiaward-winning acoustic tunesmith Stevie Palmer draws on contributions from fellow Scottish folkies Phil Cunningham, Karine Polwart and harpist Mary MacMaster, to name but a few.

All concerned have played their part in helping to create We Become The Sunshine, a subtly memorable collection which provides an ideal follow-up to Palmer’s critically acclaimed Greentrax debut Heartprint Shadow.

It’s a reflection of Palmer’s natural eclecticism that the singer-songwriter is able to happily cite musical influences as diverse as Nick Drake, Paul Weller, The Kinks’ Ray Davies and Dick Gaughan.

The latter luminary is apparently such a huge admirer of his gifted compatriot’s work that he personally volunteered to lend a hand as co-producer alongside Ian McCalman and Stevie himself as the three painstakingly assembled this impressive addition to the Greentrax catalogue.

 

David Olney and Anana Kaye
Whispers and Sighs
(Schoolkids Records)
★★★

THIS absorbing collaboration with rising Americana star Anana Kaye has sadly become David Olney’s musical epitaph, as the veteran singer-songwriter passed away just as  producer Brett Ryan Stewart was applying the finishing touches to to the final mixes of the album.

Olney was in many ways an underappreciated performer, despite recording more than 20 albums during a solo career which began when his debut album was released by Rounder Records in 1986.

Commercial success never really came his way but his compositions were covered by country-rock legends such as Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle and Linda Ronstadt over the years.

The balladeer’s final batch of musings on the human condition understandably have a rather elegiac quality, with gems such as My Favourite Goodbye and The Great Manzanita capturing this enigmatic character at his most affecting.

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