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Brief Encounters: New Albums 1-8-21 – 1-14-21 Reviewed

Greenfields: The Gibb Brothers’ Songbook (Vol. 1) – Barry Gibb – the country volume, and let’s hope volume two settles into disco – C

Heaux Tales – Jazmine Sullivan – her  first album in seven years tells stories of bad girls in 30 second snippets leading to the actual song on her first album in six years. The songs are good and the one with H.E.R. is better than that – B

Dangerous: The Double Album – Morgan Wallen – the country guy who isn’t Luke Combs, nearly two hours, 30 song, it might have made a good single, a straight up ten songs. And while Morgan is no Luke, the Chris Stapleton feature “Only Thing That’s Gone” went straight on my (as always unwieldy) best songs of the year. The rest of it is just so cluttered, it overdoses. The only reason “Cover Me Up” stands out is because we recognize it… it should be a huge hit, I predict it takes down Taylor next week – B-

Send Them To Coventry – Pa Salieu – the winner of the BBC Sound of… 2021, the Coventry via Gambia rapper adds dancehall to rap in a unique sound with reggae riddim added to some good not great bar slinging and political astringency – B

Songs for the Drunk and Broken Hearted (Deluxe) – Passenger – i can’t stomach “Let Her Go” at any price though I admire its clever construction. That was back in 2012 and the singer songwriter returns again and again, this time with an uber-break-up album, a relentless bummer. The former busking buddy of Ed Sheeran is at the top of his game on the only post-Ed, I guess I mean Post-Lewis Capaldi, singer songwriter that can actually do it… despite “Let Her Go” – B+

J.T. – Steve Earle – Steve smudges his son Justin’s impeccable Americana in a ten song plus one farewell to his late son – ALBUM OF THE WEEK – A

The Complete Decca Studio Albums Collection – Tom Jones – from 1965 – 1975, Tom was a force of major (he still was when I saw him in the mid 00s – women were still throwing their panties at him), and these songs of pop and soul power on remain his greatest legacy. As adept at pop singles like “It’s Not Unusual” and “What’s New Pussycat” as hard soul bangers “It Takes A Worried Man” . This protean qualities are all over the box set, everything stands up supremely well and that thunderball voice still gets everyone else. From Along Came Jones to Memories Don’t Leave Like People Do, the welsh sex star recorded over 200 songs… so enjoy! – A

Welfare Jazz – Viagra Boys – post punk via Stockholm which accounts for the tasteless band name, the songs are raw and spasmodic but odd in the way Swedish bands, like Abba, can be – it is all just a little off base even as it riddles through post-punk variants including ambient and industrial – B-


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