Kevin Bryan, the County Gazette's music columnist, reviews the latest offerings from The Remittance Men, Mandy Morton & Spriguns, and Hawkwind. 

The Remittance Men, Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons  (Blonde On The Tracks Records) 

These supremely gifted practitioners of the finest Americana hail from the environs of Boston, Massachusetts and, in their creative mainstay Tom Robertson, The Remittance Men are blessed with one of the most accomplished weavers of a compelling musical narrative that you could ever wish to hear.

The band first joined forces during the worldwide pandemic as an act of pure survival and the troubled times that we've all been obliged to endure recently have clearly informed this splendid debut set, with '1973 (Life On The High Seas)', 'Avery Hill' and 'Lila Page' emerging as the musical highlights of this richly rewarding collection.

Mandy Morton & Spriguns, After The Storm (Cherry Red) 

Spriguns of Tolgus (later shortened to Spriguns) were an English electric folk outfit formed in Cambridge in 1972 and active on the recording and performing front until their eventual sad demise in 1978.

This splendid anthology extends over six CDs and a DVD and brings together all the albums that the band’s various line-ups  recorded during this period, along with vocalist Mandy Morton’s two subsequent solo offerings, 'Sea of Storms' and 'Valley of Light'. 

These inventive and often darkly memorable creations have become highy sought after collector’s items in vinyl form as the band’s reputation has grown over the years, and newcomers to Spriguns’ distinctive folk-rock sound would be well advised to take this opportunity to lend an ear to  the delights of skilfully crafted gems such as  'When Spring Comes In', 'The Two Magicians' and 'Dead Man’s Eyes'.

Read more: Kevin Bryan's record reviews: The Haar, Steve Ashley, and The Pawn Shop Saints 

Hawkwind, Dust of Times: 1969-2021 (Cherry Red)

The space rock pioneers celebrate half a century’s worth of refreshingly uncompromising music making with the release of a two CD anthology capturing the cream of their recorded output during this lengthy period.

The band have gone through a whole host of line-up changes since their formation in London’s Ladbroke Grove in 1969 but singer and guitarist Dave Brock has remained at the helm throughout as the various incarnations of Hawkwind have regaled their devoted fanbase with atmospheric gems such as 'Master of the Universe',  'Quark,Strangeness and Charm' and their rather unexpected 1972 hit, 'Silver Machine'. 

The sole constant member of the band, Brock is in his eighties now but the Hawkwind saga still rumbles on, and an expanded six CD version of this retrospective is also available to delight those punters who still subscribe to the old adage that "you can’t have enough of a good thing".

Written by Kevin Bryan