Arts and Entertainment Dusty, Heard Them Here First

Various Artists, Ace: An entertaining and inspiring collection

Arts: Welcome, people, one and all, to Bartholomew Fair

The RSC's new, carnival-style staging of Ben Jonson's rarely seen comedy finally frees the text from the fettering footnotes of its classic status. Even Puritans, says Paul Taylor, will enjoy the fun of this `Fair'.

Supreme victory for Motown fans

Two British Tamla Motown fans have won a 10-year battle to persuade record giant Polygram to open their vaults and release an album of rare tracks.

Dance: Last Poets, Dana Bryant, Lemn Sissay Barbican Hall, London

Regularly namechecked by any rap crew worth its Spike Lee video, the Last Poets were indeed seminal in marrying a militant black consciousness to drums whose angry rhythms still echo today. Encouraging their mainstream counterparts Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to wake up to their black heritage, they were vital in introducing the issue of race into the woodpile of popular music. Without the Last Poets, no hip-hop or rap. Without either of these twin pillars of contemporary black music, no Public Enemy, no Ice Cube, not much dance music and (perhaps less inconceivable, this one) no Normski.

POP D'Influence / Youngbloods Convention Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Every year there's one dance record that breaks out of its accompanying underground and becomes the nation's summer soundtrack. Soul II Soul, Jamiroquai and Goldie have done it in the past and D'Influence, hot from supporting Michael Jackson and Prince, are aiming to wrestle the coveted mantle of the nation's groovsters from their illustrious predecessors with their impending album, London.

Rollin' with it

POP: Steve Winwood; Hanover Grand, London

It was like a marriage that had gone wrong

The time: 1994

Got to find a way

Revered soul daddy Curtis Mayfield was left a quadriplegic when a freak storm hit in 1990. He can no longer play guitar, but he's back with a new album.

Pop Emmylou Harris Jazz Cafe, London

A couple of years ago, Emmylou Harris had been virtually written off. Three broken marriages lay gathering dust on the trail, and after Songs of the West, a competent but unremarkable album, Warners let her go. This has proved to be a mistake. Early last year, Harris joined forces with Quebecois producer Daniel Lanois; the result is Wrecking Ball (Grapevine), a darkly magnificent collection. Harris comes laden with legend - with ex-Byrd Gram Parsons, she pioneered a brooding fusion of country and rock - and, despite its unexpected departures, Wrecking Ball returns to the birth of country, then scarily re-routes it.

Misery never made you feel so good

ROCK

Record reviews

Suede

Pop Albums: Lewis Taylor Lewis Taylor CID 8049

Undoubtedly the most accomplished debut offering of the year, Lewis Taylor introduces, at the uncommonly ripe age of 30, a major talent who is prepared to ignore the dictates of fashion in favour of his own direction.

So what if the Bible tells me so

Me'Shell Ndegeocello doesn't like morally superior people. But then she's a Go-Go girl from DC.

Obituary: Junior Walker

The saxophone doesn't feature enough in popular music. Too often, it has become synonymous with the bland doodlings of Kenny G or been buried in a horn section used to punctuate chord changes. Junior Walker, the American tenor sax player, was one of the prime exponents of the instrument in all its rasping glory. His playing on Motown classics like "Shotgun", "(I'm A) Roadrunner" and "What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)" as well as Foreigner's "Urgent" straddled genres and decades and can still be heard on Gold stations the world over. At various times, he worked with partners whose musical roots went all the way back to the birth of rock 'n' roll itself.

Album Review: Eusebe Tales from Mama's Yard EMI 7243-8-34792-2- 1

Brit-rap has traditionally foundered on its inauthenticity: in a genre that makes claims on reflecting the true realities of the black experience, blatant misappropriations of American "gangsta" schtick sound all the more hollow and insincere applied to the more parochial British environs.
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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links