Colin Vearncombe will forever be preserved in pop aspic as the maker of 1987’s melancholy worldwide hit Wonderful Life – No 1 in Austria! – but he hasn’t stopped working, despite his not having breached the top 40 for 27 years. Blind Faith, his seventh album under the Black flag, is a marvellous little thing – a less temperamental, less self-regarding cousin to Scott Walker’s first four solo records. Like them, it’s steeped in European balladry, and filled with delicious arrangements – the swooping strings and jazzy shuffles of Womanly Panther are a delight. Vearncombe’s slightly frayed baritone is a perfect match to the music, steering it clear of pomposity, filling it with humanity, even when the regrets well up – “I am not the man you want me to be,” he sings on Not the Man, “Here comes the talking / Slamming doors you then have to throw open.” Pop stardom is a long way in the past for Vearncombe, but Blind Faith is an album by a man very much in control of his gifts.
Kentucky rockers BLACK STONE CHERRY will release a blues EP, "Black To Blues", on September 29 via Mascot Records/Mascot Label Group.
André Previn was just 16 years old when he recorded the earliest numbers on Previn at Sunset, but he was already a brilliant pianist and a busy arranger at the MGM studios. Most (but not quite all) of the recordings that he made for the Sunset and Monarch labels, among the earliest in his career, are here. A major swing stylist who had not yet been affected by bop, Previn is heard on some unaccompanied solos; in three different trios with such sidemen as guitarists Dave Barbour or Irving Ashby, bassists John Simmons, Eddie Safranski, or Red Callender, and drummer Lee Young; and a couple of jam tunes ("All the Things You Are" and "I Found a New Baby") with a sextet also either Buddy Childers or Howard McGhee on trumpet, altoist Willie Smith, and Vido Musso on tenor. The small group swing performances are quite enjoyable, and the teenage pianist easily keeps up with the other, more famous players.