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Neil Spencer

Gipsy Rhumba review a capsule of supercharged clapping and joyous vocals

The traditions of flamenco being so strict, it must have taken bravado to bust them open and create a new micro-genre – Catalan Rumba – in the early 60s, when Barcelona musicians caught the Latin bug.

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire by Will Hermes review: New York's 70s musical revolution remembered

Will Hermes's fast-paced history charts the rise of punk, hip-hop and the other musical movements that sprang up in New York in five feverish years When John Lennon moved to New York in 1971 he described his adopted home as "the capital of the world". Mu

Never Forget review - folk trio the Young'uns prove adept historians

(Hereteu) One part of folk's remit is to honour the past and keep old songs alive; another to maintain the tradition of social commentary. This Hartlepool trio document Teesside history with gusto; this latest album has songs about the peasants' revolt

A Thousand Kisses Deep review - Christine Tobin's warm, inventive homage to Leonard Cohen

The disconnect between Leonard Cohen's poetic songs and his lugubrious baritone has often been acute (Cohen himself joked about his "golden voice"), which, genius aside, is perhaps why his work is so well covered.

John Harle & Marc Almond: The Tyburn Tree - review

John Harle's epic CV includes soundtracks, classical works and drama, all of which feed into the saxophonist's ambitious song cycle about "dark London".

Rosanne Cash: The River and the Thread - review

(Decca) The third album by Roseanne Cash following the death of her parents a decade ago proves to be the stand-out of a loose trilogy. Asked to help preserve the Arkansas childhood home of her father Johnny, Cash found herself drawn into southern hist

Seth Lakeman: Word of Mouth - review

(Cooking Vinyl) The west country fiddler continues to draw inspiration from his heartlands, with this seventh album based on interviews with locals: bell ringers, engine drivers, dock workers and more. The resulting narratives are engaging enough, but

Seth Lakeman: Word of Mouth - review

(Cooking Vinyl) The west country fiddler continues to draw inspiration from his heartlands, with this seventh album based on interviews with locals: bell ringers, engine drivers, dock workers and more. The resulting narratives are engaging enough, but

Angelique Kidjo: Eve - review

An indomitable performer with an electrifying voice, a social activist and Unicef ambassador, Angélique Kidjo is a force of nature.

Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion by Robert Gordon - review

When Stax Records renewed the contract of its biggest star, Isaac Hayes, in 1972, it sugar-coated the deal with a custom-built, gold-plated Cadillac Eldorado.