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Music Album reviews with Ian Sinclair: May 9, 2022

New releases from Kate Rusby, Good Looks and Charles Mingus with Hampton Hawes and Dannie Richmond

Kate Rusby
30: Happy Returns
(Pure Records)
★★★

AFTER 19 albums, countless concerts and a Mercury Prize nomination, Kate Rusby’s new album is a celebration of her 30 years as a professional musician.

Made up of newly recorded versions of favourites from across the Yorkshire folk singer’s career, the set is full of contributions from talented collaborators, including Richard Hawley, Sam Kelly, Sarah Jarosz, Rusby’s husband Damian O’Kane and Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the joyous opening track.

Full of lightness and emotion, her extraordinary and distinctive voice shines brightly.

Rusby original Secret Keeper, with the Royal Northern Sinfonia, is a bonus track on the CD release, while Let Me Be, a duet with KT Tunstall, is very poppy.

Likewise the Celtic-tinged Walk The Road with US kindred spirit Beth Nielsen Chapman points to Rusby’s position as a stalwart of the more accessible section of British folk music.

 
Good Looks
Bummer Year
(Keeled Scales)
★★★★

HAVING grown up in a south Texas coastal town overshadowed by the petrochemical industry, Tyler Jordan moved to Austin when he was 19-years old.

The debut record from Good Looks, the four-piece band he leads, Bummer Year is a gutsy, emotive American indie rock album.

Vocally his Dylany drawl brings to mind onetime Uncut magazine favourite Dan Bern, while there is a welcome class consciousness underpinning songs such as 21 and the slackerish title track.

“All my friends from high school … supported Donald Trump,” he laments on the latter, before ending on a collective note, “Our strength is in our numbers, in the streets is where we show them/You force someone to listen to you when they’re fucking scared.”

Do check this out if you like other Americana artists like Strand of Oaks, Kyle Craft and early Whiskeytown.

Charles Mingus with Hampton Hawes and Dannie Richmond
Mingus Three
(Rhino/Parlophone)
★★★

RE-RELEASED to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary jazz bassist and composer Charles Mingus, this 1957 album finds him teaming up with pianist Hampton Hawes and Dannie Richmond on drums.

A year earlier Hampton had been named “New Star of the Year” by Down Beat magazine, and his interplay with Mingus across the record is impressive.

The trio’s swinging take on George Gershwin’s Summertime is a real highlight, while Hamp’s New Blues barrels along nicely. Dedicated Mingus fans will be interested in the second disc of outtakes from the sessions.

It’s all pleasant enough, and pretty accessible, but there seems little to distinguish them from other jazz trios. And Mingus Three certainly doesn’t have the bite and strong personality of Mingus’s masterworks like The Clown, Mingus Ah Um and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady.

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