Faded old-world flowers adorn both sides of the cover with a big strip of black grease disturbing the lovely imagery on the back. Beginning with Arthur Crudup's "My Baby Left Me," like that other band of famous backup players, the Section, how can this be anything but very musical? Guitarist/vocalist Henry McCullough's "Mistake No Doubt" has eerie backing vocals and is suitably well done, as is his "Let It Be Gone," and though this is far from commercial, it is important to have this document of the guys who made magic behind Joe Cocker in 1969 and Marianne Faithfull in the mid-'70s. This came right in the middle, and the Grease Band's collaborative effort, "Jesse James," could be mistaken for Doug Yule singing Lou Reed's "Train Comin' Round the Bend." It's got that chug-a-lug subdued rock sound. With Henry McCullough's Wings connection, The Grease Band gets a touch of the Beatles' guilt-by-association mystique. As intriguing and wonderful as this album is, had Joe Cocker guested on bassist Alan Spenner's "Down Home Mama" or had Marianne Faithfull taken on the traditional "To the Lord," there would have been that something extra, that intangible that makes records so very special.
Tabor teams up with one of Britain's leading folk-rock outfits, the Oyster Band, with fairly successful results, although it won't be the favorite of June's most traditionally-minded fans. She takes all the lead vocals on these fully electrified arrangements. The material is certainly varied, including both traditional numbers and covers of contemporary folk and rock tunes by Richard Thompson, Si Kahn, the Pogues, Billy Bragg, and the Velvet Underground.
This new release features the most popular of Schubert’s orchestral repertoire, performed on original instruments by The Hanover Band led by Roy Goodman. Schubert wrote two overtures ‘in the Italian style,’ in November 1817. No doubt they were inspired by the Rossini craze that was sweeping Vienna. In the C major overture an Adagio with Rossinian wind solos precedes the main Allegro which concludes with a lively coda. Throughout the overture the jaunty Italianate rhythms and robust harmonic patterns of Schubert’s model are apparent, but the composer’s own gifts are also in evidence. From an early age Schubert was interested in composing for the theatre. He was commissioned to compose incidental music for Helmina von Chezy’s four-act play Rosamunde, which premiered in December 1823 and was withdrawn after only one performance. Schubert’s music, however, was edited and republished, and has retained popularity. Finally, the album presents his Symphony No 8 in B minor, ‘Unfinished.’