I The Battlefield Band: New Spring (Temple) Battlefield are a Folk Institution. and this latest album is the first by the new line-up. which brings in John .\lc(‘usker on fiddle. accordion and a spread of other instruments. and ()ssian's lain MacDonald on pipes and flute.
At seventeen. young \ch’usker has a load of talent. and will one day find depth of expression to match his remarkable technique. while in lain they base a great piper with a y ast experience of play ing other instruments in folk groups. It is a pity therefore that beautiful pipe tunes are sometimes obscured by a mix that allows an uninteresting and unsubtlc keyboard to no longer pretend to be accompaninicni.
'l‘hree self—penned songs from Alan Reid. andone by Alistair Rttssell. are on the traditional themesof emigration. working away from home. and the Scots solution for all problems— whisky.
Battlefield fans will find the album stylistically a straightforward continuation ofthe band's successful approach. and thisreviewerteelsthatthe new spring hasn't quite arriy ed yet. (Norman ('halmers)
I Lindy Layton: Pressure (Arista) You know Lindy lay ton best for the lazy vocals that helped make Beats Internationals ‘l)ttb Bc (iood To Me“ Number ( )ne in April last year. Her debut solo album is a forceful attempt to alter that fact. ()nly nineteen. but with a plaintiye y'ocal clarity reminiscent of a young Diana Ross. Layton's considerable talent is show cased here in a surprisingly varied clutch of consistently strong tunes. ()ccasionally ulu Mica l’aris -- w hich is praise indeed — but more often akin to a poppier Chimes. Pressure brings a credible approach to a musical medium notoriously easy to over-commercialise. 'l‘hree tracks mixed by Norman Cook —~ amaze y'ourselfwith lines". eerily apeing Fun Boy 'l‘hree‘s lunatics l laye 'lakeri ()y'er‘ — are innovative and crisply conceived. yet more traditional funk workouts ('lichoMy lleart'.
‘\\'ithout You‘ ) cony‘cy Layton's matured-soul approach just as capably'. It‘s a tribute tothc material here that the mellow. Prince-penned ‘l)o.\1cHaby‘aloesn't standout at all. l’raisc indeed. (Paul \V. llullah)
40'I‘he List 28June— l 1 July 1991
Star Time (Polydor) Yes, boxed sets are an expensive pain,
are they not? This one, however, is
more enticing than most and, unless you’re a vinyl fetishist (it isn't available
in that format), I recommend that you
start saving for it right away. We have here 71 tracks spanning nearly 30
years and marking out the territory of
i one of the most important canons of 1 music this century. The compilers of
‘Star Time' have succeeded in making
[it so damn near definitive that no one is
ever likely to try to better if.
' recorded with Afrika Bambaataa and
From the start, it’s funky, with the 8&3 balladry of ‘Please Please Please’ kicking it'off, but successive tracks invent and reinvent funk. When ‘Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag’ comes along, the bass is sounding like an African talking drum, Brown having made the quantum leap from brand leaderto innovator. What JB did always had repercussions far beyond his own career, so ‘Star Time’ is the story of a whole era.
Brown in the 80s was past his peak. but the very company he’s in on track 71,
Tackhead in 1984, shows that Brown’s message was still felt deeply enough for others to feel the torch worth carrying. (Alastair Mabbott)
l TONI CHILDS
House Of Hope (A&M)
How long before all the world salutes Toni Childs? Unshakeably as strong as ; hermagnificentdebut,1988’s
l Grammy-nominated ‘Union’, Los
' Angeles-based Childs’ ‘difficult’ second album holds no disappointments for those already converted and confirms her status as the most able, imaginative and innovative contemporary American female songwriter. Blessed with the most plaintive yet forthright of vocal textures, and offering a consistently strident, singular musical vision, Toni Childs’ work is a treasure trove brimful of fearlessly candid observations, reassuring humanity and plangenf. stirring emotion. A wry and able poet, she is still exploring a bleak inner
I wilderness and still mapping the
journey by eclectic use (a la David Byrne, Sting) of world rhythms drawn around a mature rock foundation (even Andy Summers strums along here). The dark ‘Daddy's Song’ and the harrowing chronicle of wife-abuse, ‘l’ve Got To Go Now’, speak with a fierce immediacy that is both ground-breaking and extremely moving. The pioneering waltz-drama, ‘Dead Are Dancing’ and the majestic ‘Three Days' subtly key in the progression from the polished ‘Union’ set by means of a quiet, affirmed maturity both nonchalantly direct and moodily harmonious. Like Sinead O’Connor (only quieter about it) and Annie Lennox, Toni Childs is that special thing - a feminist who is joyfully unashamed of the (subversive) power of her femininity. Truly formidable. (Paul W. Hullah)
Chicken Rhythms (Factory) Pop-pickers today—fickle or what? Give them a Cornetto, and the next minute they’ll want to swap it for a choc ice. Stuff The High’s LP in their Christmas stacking and come Boxing Day they’ll be down their local record emporium to exchange it for the Chapterhouse platter. Well, not exactly, but as pop music gets older, the momentum gets faster. Today’s record buyers don’t want to know about
yesterday’s men unless they’re the
subject of a sensationalislng film or have unleashed their back catalogue
This is the problem Northside are
; forced to meet head on with their
long-playing debut. Indie dance, to flog a dead horse of a phrase, has been off the boil for a good few months. Even Flowered Up, with a minor hit on their hands can’t command the column inches they dominated last year, and Northside’s very own ‘sound of the summer’ ‘Shall We Take ATrip?’ already sounds like Golden Hour blast
from the past territory, which is a pity
because get beneath the prejudice and the trends, the regional streetspeak
i 3‘5 I. l
and the goofy titles and there’s a couple
of real pop nuggets here. ‘Tour de World' especially, with its dreamy refrain and chunky guitars, transcends fashion and indicates that next time round, Northside may be able to shed their anachronistic oop north trappings and deliverthe goods pure and simple. (Fiona Shepherd)