Kevin Bryan delivers his verdict on some of this week’s CD releases Gordie Tentrees,”Mean Old World” (Self-Released)- This beguiling collection explores the path of Ontario born singer-songwriter Gordie Tentrees from foster child to foster parent, drawing on contributions from four of this affable character’s favourite musical sidemen in a process which was completed in just one week. This deliberately spontaneous approach to music-making lends “Mean Old World” an aura of genuine immediacy which adds to the infectious charm of stand-out tracks such as “Danke,” “Train Is Gone” and “Far Away Friends.”

The Sweet Inspirations,”Let It Be Me” (Cherry Red / Soul Music Records)- This splendid 3 CD set focusses attention on the recordings that The Sweet Inspirations made for the Atlantic label between 1967 and 1970. This highly regarded quartet had already made quite a name for themselves by this stage after suppplying backing vocals for luminaries such as Aretha Franklin,Solomon Burke and Wilson Pickett to name but a few and the body of work that they assembled in their own right during this golden era also repays closer investiigation, although it didn’t bring them too much in the way of commercial success on this side of the Atlantic.Legendary figures such as Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler oversee the proceedings as Cissy Houston and company turn in their soulful renditions of gems such as The Bee Gees’ ” To Love Somebody” and Aretha’s “Do Right Woman.”

Bette Smith,”The Good The Bad and The Bette” (Ruf Records)- Brooklyn born Bette Smith spent her formative years steeped in the delights of gospel music, with a father who was a church choir director and a mother who loved the collected works of legendary figures such as Mahalia Jackson and the Reverend James Cleveland. Bette’s own music also incorporates healthy quantties of rock and soul to create a gritty and vibrant sound in the mould of Betty Wright and Tina Turner, as you’ll discover for yourself if you lend an ear to stand-out tracks such as “Everybody Needs Love” and “Signs and Wonders,” the latter boasting a guest appearance on guitar from North Mississippi Allstar Luther Dickinson.