RECORDS; NEW RELEASES

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
The Harlem Underground: Harlem Underground (Hubbub, CD/ LP). Previously available only to those prepared to invest half the gross national product of Qatar, George Benson's five-track, 35-minute renegade soul odyssey is now within the price range of normal people too. And - 20 years after its original release - not a moment before time. The deliriously dope-addled opening number is as near to essential listening as any song called "Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba" possibly can be, and the epic "Fed Up" - in which producer's wife Ann Winley delivers the immortal kiss-off line "Goodbye and good luck to you and all your bitches" - is one of the most memorable domestic arguments ever set to music. Ben Thompson

Alex Chilton: Like Flies on Sherbert (Cooking Vinyl, CD only). Anyone curious about the enduring mystique of Memphis maverick and one time Big Star luminary Alex Chilton need look no further for enlightenment than this very welcome reissue. Recorded in late 1978 under the conflicting influences of punk rock and valium, Like Flies on Sherbert is one of the most delightfully degenerate moments in the history of American pop. It starts with a chaotic assault on KC & The Sunshine Band's "Boogie Shoes" and finishes with an inebriated lunge at country pioneers The Carter Family. Among Chilton's own compositions, the alarmingly predatory "Hey! Little Girl" stands out, but there is no shortage of competition in the louche stomp stakes. Value-for-money pedants be advised: this disc is only 34 minutes long, but it doesn't need to be any longer. BT

Various Artists: Shaken Not Stirred (Rykodisc, CD only). Wonderfully cheesy, often quite avant-garde selection of Sixties lounge music culled from Californian Hifi Recordings' "Living Presence" series - which means bongos and birdcalls in a cinemascope-wide stereo image. Harold Land and Buddy Collette are among the jazz musicians, Leon Russell and Glen Campbell among the popsters lending their talents to such a mondo-bizarre enterprise. Phil Johnson

The Art of Alfred Brendel: Schubert (Philips, CD only). That we now hear Schubert's piano sonatas as radical, often unsettling, musical adventures, rather than the unconsidered trifles of a master song writer, is thanks largely to Alfred Brendel, 65 last month. A good selection of Brendel's Seventies recordings of Schubert are in this birthday box: 10 sonatas, including the last great three, the walloping symphony of the Wanderer fantasy, plus a bundle of Ecossaises, German dances and other chiselled epigrams. With playing that's intelligent and argumentative as well as grandly lyrical, these CDs remain a continual revelation. Dermot Clinch

Comments