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Cat Mother And The All Night Newsboys – The Street Giveth And The Street Taketh Away

NYC rock'n'roll troupe Cat Mother had a semi-illustrious history. Formed by Stephen Stills' mate Roy Michaels (pre-Buffalo Springfield), Roy's boys packed an esoteric punch with their odd mix of old rocker standards and mandolin/violin/banjo workouts. Jimi Hendrix took a shine to them and semi-produced this disc at Electric Ladyland. They came up with a diverting set, but the Hendrix link is obviously the draw for this first-time CD reissue.

Mael Bonding

Sparks ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, LONDON FRIDAY MARCH 21, 2003 If geeks had their own political party, they'd probably be able to organise their conferences around the same time and place as the next Sparks gig, thus ensuring a 100 per cent attendance. That's how London's Festival Hall feels tonight, anyway. Sparks fans make your average Trekkie look like Elvis—that's young Elvis, of course: although even old, fat, shit Elvis wouldn't look so bad beside a myopic thirty something in a lurid "Lights Out Ibiza" T-shirt.

Yann Tiersen rose to the front rank of film composers with the irresistible Amelie, but he's keen to stress that he'd recorded for years prior to that. He's collaborated with The Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon, among others, and sells out the Royal Festival Hall in his own right. Goodbye Lenin!, directed by Wolfgang Becker, won awards at Berlin this spring, and Tiersen's score is a chest-swelling thing of beauty and a million violins. Actually, 17 violins—I've just checked. Yann himself plays piano, melodica and violin—so that makes 18. Claire Pichet is guest vocalist.

Cream—Strange Brew

This includes much of the surviving live footage of Clapton, Bruce and Baker, including extracts from Cream's farewell Royal Albert Hall performance. All three band members are interviewed, and the inclusion of Hendrix's cover of "Sunshine Of Your Love" on Lulu's TV show is a bonus. But while Cream's own songs have stood the test of time well, the extended blues jams sound tedious today.

New York Glory

Jesse Malin THE BORDERLINE, LONDON TUESDAY JANUARY 21 2003 "Just wait til see you me with my fuckin' band, man," Jesse Malin had said backstage at the Royal Festival Hall, after opening solo and acoustic for Ryan Adams last November. And he wasn't kidding. He's flanked by two razor-sharp dudes who look like they walked out of a remake of West Side Story, but turn out to be bassist Johnny Pisano and guitarist Johnny Rocket. It may just be a trick of the light, but keyboardist Joe McGinty is sporting what looks suspiciously like a black eye.

Trading Places

Much-imitated life-swapping comedy from '83, back when John Landis was a hot name. Street chancer Eddie Murphy and stockbroker Dan Aykroyd switch places after a nature-versus-nurture debate, with Jamie Lee Curtis as Aykroyd's love interest. Doesn't aim to be anything other than broadly funny, and so largely succeeds, though it hasn't aged too cleverly.
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