New Music For Summer

Posted on: 04 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Rock or jazz, classical or country, there's something for everyone in our pick of the latest albums.

Classical: Natasha Marsh

Soprano Natasha Marsh was chosen by ITV Sport to be the voice of their Euro 2008 opening title sequence. She made a special recording of Queen of the Night aria from Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute and this played out as the theme tune for the opening and closing credits of each broadcast.

Mozart, himself born in Austria where the tournament was held, composed the aria to be one of the most demanding in opera, as the sopranos in the role have to reach a high F6 note.

Currently residing in Buckinghamshire, Natasha was thrilled when ITV approached her with the offer.

"I believe it was after they heard me sing at this year's Carling Cup Final in February that they decided I should sing the theme tune. I was delighted to do it. I love football, it is a phenomenal piece of music by Mozart, and also I love the passion, beauty and power that football and music share."

Natasha enjoyed massive success earlier in the year when her debut album Amour went straight in at number one in the UK Classical Chart. Natasha has also toured with the likes of Il Divo, Russell Watson and Classical Brit Award winners Blake and this summer is embarking on a tour with Britain's Got Talent.

Her second album Natasha Marsh features Queen of the Night, as well as duets with Gardar Cortes, Alfie Boe and Blake.

You can purchase Natasha Marsh from all good record stores or online at Amazon for £7.98.

Jazz: Alison Burns & Martin Taylor

When Grammy award winning guitarist Martin Taylor, who has collaborated with great singers including Peggy Lee, Martin Carthy, Jamie Cullum, Dionne Warwick and Bryn Terfel, decided to record a duo album with a vocalist he chose the rising Scottish jazz star Alison Burns.

Both were looking to create the type of chemistry and interaction only attainable with two instruments. All the tracks on the album were recorded live in the studio. The result is an album of intimacy and warmth.

The new album 1AM takes its inspiration from the collaboration between Joe Pass and Ella Fitzgerald, mixing repertoire from The Great American Songbook and contemporary material from the likes of James Taylor and Stevie Wonder.

The first song the pair recorded is a completely new take on Stevie Wonder's If It's MagicHe's A Tramp, made famous by Peggy Lee in the hit Disney movie Lady And The Tramp was chosen by Alison because of her love of animals.

The haunting True is a tribute to Alison's brother who served with the SAS, and tragically died in action, during the Falklands War in 1982. Martin had composed the music several years ago, but it wasn't until now, 25 years after Alison's pilgrimage to The Falklands to visit the sight of her brother's death, that she felt she could put her emotions down in song. At one point the song was due to be recorded by none other than Dolly Parton.

You can purchase 1AM from all good record stores or online at Amazon for £8.98.

Jazz-Rock: Walter Becker

Circus Money is Walter Becker's first solo album in 14 years. "It is," the artist acknowledges, "a unique career strategy."

Over the past 38 years, Becker and his long-time collaborator Donald Fagen have released 10 albums under the Steely Dan moniker.

It was in 1994 that 11 Tracks of Whack, Becker's debut solo outing arrived, with conclusive proof that the songwriter, multi-tasking musician and studio habitué had more to say, and more ways to say it, than could be contained in the epochal oeuvre of Steely Dan.

Circus Money, produced by Grammy Award winning Larry Klein, is Becker's second solo effort. The album features Steely Dan sidemen Keith Carlock on drums and Jon Herington on guitar, plus keyboardists Ted Baker and Jim Beard. Becker handles lead vocals and plays bass guitar on all songs, and also plays guitar on three tracks.

The musical direction of the new album has a very strong Jamaican dub feel to it.

"The bass gave me a more powerful position to define the direction I wanted the music to take," he explains. "As much as anything, that direction had to do with the fact that, for years before I started this project, I was listening almost exclusively to Jamaican music."

You can purchase Circus Money from all good record stores or online at Amazon for £11.99.

Rock: Creedence Clearwater Revival

In the late Sixties, at a time when rock was evolving further and further away from the forces that had made the music possible in the first place, Creedence Clearwater Revival brought things back to their roots with their concise mix of rockabilly, swamp pop, R&B, and country. Their vision was very much driven by legendary singer, songwriter, guitarist, and leader John Fogerty.

Creedence's classic compositions evoked enduring images of Americana and reflected burning social issues of the day. The band's genius was their ability to accomplish this with the economic, primal power of a classic rockabilly ensemble.

The songs of Creedence are still very much around, having become well known through regular radio play, movies and TV programmes, including the hits Bad Moon Rising, Up Around The Bend, Born On The Bayou, Have You Ever Seen The Rain alongside the classic cover of Heard It Through The Grapevine.

The Best Of Creedence Clearwater Revival featuring John Fogerty includes comprehensive sleeve notes.

You can purchase The Best Of Creedence Clearwater Revival from all good record stores or online at Amazon for £8.98.

Country: Dolly Parton

Comprising 4 CDs of music spanning the decades Dolly Parton: The Tour Collection features for the first time on CD tracks such as Love, You’re So Beautiful Tonight, Bubbling Over, Love With Me and Release Me as well as tracks which are being released for the first time in the UK, including Games People Play, Wings Of A Dove, Robert and Green Eyed Boy. The box set, released to coincide with Dolly Parton's UK arena tour, also features extensive sleevenotes.

CD 1 brings together Dolly's love songs such as Love Is Like A Butterfly, Yellow Roses, Most Of All Why, not forgetting her most successful track ever the classic kiss-off ballad I Will Always Love You.

CD 2 includes a unique collection of cover versions. With her trademark country sound, she gives new life to classic numbers from the likes of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jackie Wilson and the Beatles. 

CD 3 takes you on a journey back to where it all started for Dolly with songs full of reflection and nostalgia for her beloved Smoky Mountains, such as My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy, Daddy's Moonshine Still and My Tennessee Mountain Home.

Rounding off this unique collection, CD 4 features a selection of duets and multi-vocal songs with an impressive range of musical icons, including Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Billy Ray Cyrus, Willie Nelson, Porter Wagoner, Kenny Rogers, Julio Iglesias Emmylou Harris, Tammy Wynette and more.

You can purchase Dolly Parton: The Tour Collection from all good record stores or online at Amazon for £17.98.


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