Steve Dawson,”Ghosts” (Pravda Records)- The sixth solo album from sublimely soulful Chicago based singer-songwriter Steve Dawson is a mellow gem of the highest order, and one which reminded me of the late lamented Jesse Winchester in some of its most beguiling moments. The contents were a very long time in the making, having been penned in the six years leading up to 2023 with an attention to detail that sets Steve’s work apart from many of his contemporaries in this increasingly crowded field. His previous album was essentially a one man show, but on this occasion Dawson has assembled a “dream band” to underpin his efforts, drawing on the talents of some of the finest musicians that this Californian tunesmith has worked with in his adopted hometpwn of Chicago during the past fifteen years or so. The finished product should be required listening for Americana fans everywhere.

Emerson, Lake & Powell,”Complete Collection” (Cherry Red Records)- This entertaining anthology focusses attention on the relatively meagre recorded output of prog rockers Emerson, Lake and Powell. His contractual commitments to supergroup Asia meant that original ELP drummer Carl Palmer was unable to take part in the proceedings as the re-formed trio ventured back into the studio in 1984, but Cozy Powell proved to be a more than capable replacement as their solirary studio album served up the by now familiar blend of extended pieces, mellow balladry and revamped classical themes, on this occasion a revamp of “Mars, The Bringer of War” from Gustav Holst’s “Planets Suite.” The contents are expanded into a 3 CD box set here with the inclusion of a selection of studio rehearsals and a live disc featuring old favourites such as “Lucky Man,” “Knife Edge” and Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man.”

Chris Farlowe,”Stormy Monday-The Blues Years 1985-2008” (Cherry Red)- This soulful performer is best remembered these days for his 1966 chart topper,”Out of Time,” one of a lengthy series of Rolling Stones covers that the Islington born vocalist recorded for Andrew Loog Oldham’s Immediate label during the mid sixties. Farlowe later went on to work with prestigious rock acts such as Atomic Rooster and Jon Hiseman’s Colosseum in subsequent years but this excellent new Cherry Red anthology focusses on his slightly more recent output, including splendid live renditions of Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today” and Mike D’Abo’s “Handbags and Gladrags” alongside duets with Elkie Brooks and the irascible Van Morrison on “Private Number” and “Sitting On Top Of The World” respectively. The former pop icon is arguably one of the best blues and soul singers that this country has produced, and he’s captured in particularly fine fettle here.