Gipsy Kings ‘Live’ CD (Columbia)

Compared to the likes of Jaleo or the late Cameron, Spanish rumba flamenco fans are apt to give the Gipsy Kings something of a slating for lacking a certain authenticity. But let’s face it, the lads could never be described as either dyed in the wool traditionalists or flamenco progressives. The nettle they grasp is sheer unabashed commerciality. That’s their tried and tested formula, and with another album set to sell by the barrowload, they’re obviously sticking to it. This was recorded during their ’91 world tour and as you might expect it’s packed with their all-time favourites. The feel of a live performance is well captured even if the finale of Bamboleo complete with audience participation is enough to put you off that catchy number for life. Destined to sell.

Brian Parsons aka Zuppa Inglese

Sharon Shannon ‘Sharon Shannon’ CD (Solid)

Best known for her work with The Waterboys, this album was conceived as a solo project, that is before the accordion wiz took off for a year’s arduous touring with the Boys. But it was worth the wait. In true Irish style, so many guest musos dropped in that the solo project turned into a huge session featuring some of Ireland’s finest players. There are a few subtle deviations from what is largely an instrumental traditional Irish norm, including a traditional Portuguese dance and a touch of cajun and imaginative use of Hammond organ on many tracks. It’s a fine album that shows off the woman’s musical talent and virtuosity to the full.

Brian Parsons aka Zuppa Inglese

Astral Travelling Since 1993