U2: All That You Can't Leave Behind

Looking at the promotional pictures for the un-catchily titled "All that you can’t leave behind", Bono and the Edge don’t seem to have changed too much over the years. Larry Mullen looks as if he has been taking some of Sir Cliff’s eternal youth pills and Adam Clayton unfortunately looks as if he as been taking health and beauty advice from Keith Richards. The album re-unites the producers used on the "Unforgettable Fire", Daniel Lanois and Brian Eno, and perhaps that goes some way to explaining the similar feel of the two albums. The production quality of the album is quite impressive and anybody with a decent hi-fi system will be impressed with the clarity and crispness of the recording itself. As usual I don’t have time to go through all of the tracks but a quick summary of some of the highlights follows. The album opens with the first single to be taken from the album, "Beautiful Day" and uses the traditional U2 winning formula. My personal favorite is "Elevation" which starts with a cutting Edge riff, followed by one of Larry’s drum rolls which takes us into an "Achtung Baby" style masterpiece. "Kite" is a little slower and not dissimilar to the Verve’s "Lucky Man" and the guitar intro to "In a little While" has a distinct Red Hot Chili Peppers feel to it. Finally things wind down to a gentle conclusion with the restful finale, "Grace". It’s another one of those "growers" and hence my initial crisp rating of 3 has grown into a 4 after a couple of weeks listening.

B.B. King and Eric Clapton: Riding With The King

If "The Blues" is what fluffs your pigeon then is album is going to be right up your street. It contains mostly new material and a couple of old standards. Although they have played together before, this is the first time these two blues and rock legends have joined forces to produce a whole album and the combination works as well as expected. The album starts off with the title track, and sets a high standard, which the remainder of the album struggles to keep up with. The album is riddled with trademark vocals and guitars from both prime contributors and anybody familiar with either of their work would have no problems in identifying them. The second track "Ten Long Years" also stands out from many of the other tracks, and its traditional blues piano makes it sound more like a King song than a Clapton song. Clapton adds perhaps a little more rock than a solo King album might have had, which helps to give the album a little more variety and balance. Of course it would not be acceptable to release a blues album without at least one of the tracks being called "something Blues", and the vibrant duo happily oblige with the excellent "3 o’ Clock Blues". The re-working of "Worried Life Blues" also fulfilling the required naming convention doesn’t however compare with the old Animals version. This is very much an album of a particular genre and most people are therefore likely to love it or hate it. My only disappointment was the absence of a lyric along the lines of "Woke up this morning and my woman was gone, she’d shot my dog, crashed my car and peed on the carpet", but maybe that’s just my false expectations.