TOM JONES - 24 hours (Parlophone/S.Curve)
It’s always mystified me why easy-listener Sixties crooners like Tony Christie and Tom Jones suddenly became pop's hippest performers in the Nineties and Noughties.
What is that all about?
So-called Welsh wonder Jones never appealed to the younger generation four decades ago — yet he has been courted by the indie generation's all and sundry including the ice-cool Britannia brigade.
So what's the big attraction now as he approaches his 70th birthday?
It seems he's still a magnet for the A-list hipsters — new album 24 hours is produced by trendy drum n bass outfit, Future Cut.
Overall, it is an ok, inoffensive collection with Jones’ famed big vocals still the star of the show. The best of the tracks — most of which Jones has penned — is by far the excellent single, If He Should Ever Leave You. This is very much in the same vein as the singer's signature singalong tunes such as It's Not Unusual, What's New Pussycat etc.
The rest is a take it or leave it mixture of funk (Feels Like Music), slowies (The Hitter) and timewarped electro (Seen That Face).
PAUL CARRACK - I Know That Name (Carrackuk)
If hard graft determined commercial success, Paul Carrack would be a megastar by now.
The 57-year-old has guested on no fewer than 60 albums and seems to have been working non-stop since the 1970s when he fronted Ace and helped give them their only hit, the No 1 How Long?
Since then he's worked with a whole array of stars: Roxy Music,
Simply Red, The Smiths, Squeeze, Elton John and Mike and The Mechanics. In between Carrack has managed to carve out a low-profile solo career which has now produced its 14th album, I Know That Name — a decent mix of soul and melodic rock.
Carrack's vocal chords are as strong as ever — even if the material, overall, isn't.
Best track is I Don't Want Hear Anymore — a tune he wrote for The Eagles on Long Road Out of Eden and he is joined by the band's Don Henley and Timothy B Schmidt on his solo version.
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA - Live In Japan (Rubyworks)
Like them or loathe them, there's no denying Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are exemplary musicians. In truth the strange pairing that is Rod and Gab have few rivals in the art of the Spanish acoustic guitar playing.
And these two former metal heads really come into their own
live on stage. But beneath all the fine musicianship and the complex classic twiddly bits, there is nothing to get excited about by the way of decent tunes. New album completed with bonus live DVD is a recording of the two live in Japan. Included is a quite frankly ridiculous version of Led Zeppelin's classic Stairway to Heaven.
VARIOUS - Dreamboats and Petticoats Two (Universal)
If you like music from the late 1950s/early 1960s, a new Universal compilation, Dreamboats and Petticoats Two, is a must-have record.
Featuring the likes of Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochrane, this two-CD collection contains some of the finest moments of pop from an often forgotten era. Among the highlights are Fats Domino's Ain't That A Shame and Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire.