Various Artists – Brel Next

The monumental songwriting prowess of Jacques Brel has traditionally been far too clever for the non-French-speaking masses to care. Even in English. According to the sophisticated French-speaking masses, the translations are a travesty. Not always so. In the devoted, talented hands of Elvis lyricist Mort Shuman, adaptor of the bulk of the songs on this compilation, they pack a heavyweight lyrical punch rarely experienced in the comparatively feeble 'rock' lexicon.

Tom Rapp – Familiar Songs

Flawed, fascinating psych-folk curio

Johnny Cash – The Living End

This belated sequel to 2002's triple-album retrospective Love God Murder features 18 songs that might easily have fitted under one or another of that set's individual headings. Not, perhaps, "Murder"—the only death here is that of the Native American hero of Peter LaFarge's "Ballad Of Ira Hayes", a war hero allowed to fall into alcoholism and ignominy after he'd helped raise that iconic flag at Iwo Jima—but certainly "Love" and "God".

Ssh! Art In Progress

First CD release for forgotten '71 psych-folk masterpiece from short-lived Aussie group

Paul Simon – The Paul Simon Songbook

Long unavailable album recorded in London in one hour in May 1965, between Simon & Garfunkel's Wednesday Morning 3am and Sounds Of Silence

Merle Haggard – Just Between The Two Of Us (With Bonnie Owens)

Mr & Mrs Bakersfield and an in-concert classic on a twofer

Various Artists – All You Need Is Lisboa

It's a neat concept, seeing how a particular culture regurgitated Los Beatles. Portugal emerges as a tryer: chap singing through his forehead on "I'll Follow The Sun", "When I'm 64" played on a wasp, a total botch made of "Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da" (which is bollocks anyway, to be fair) and a surprisingly loose grasp of rhythm all round. But, occasionally, Portugal triumphs: an atmospheric "Blackbird", a surfing "I'll Get You" and a delightful fado reading of "Hey Jude" taken at a canter on the pretty Portuguese guitarra.

Anna Domino

1986 album from Tokyo-born but US-based singer-songwriter

Tindersticks – Working For The Man: The Island Years

The glory years of 1992-1999, thoughtfully compiled on two CDs

Dave Cousins – Two Weeks Last Summer

First time on CD for vanished 1972 solo album by leader of The Strawbs, featuring Rick Wakeman and Roger Glover
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