UK label ACE RECORDS has just released two more albums in their successful “songwriter” series. The discs in the series offer a varied and eclectic selection of recordings by various artists of key songs from the chosen writers’ back catalogues. The two new collections turn the spotlight on LEONARD COHEN and BRIAN WILSON, so yes, not a lot of soul here but plenty of quality music, lots of it essential fare for serious music collectors – like our readers!

‘SONGS OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS’ – an apt title – is a 17 track sweep of Leonard Cohen’s work.  It’s Ace’s second look at Cohen’s oeuvre. Of most interest to us on this new collection is maybe Richie Haven’s version of ‘Priests’ while Cohen’s most famous song ‘Hallelujah’ is rendered gently by K D Lang. Amongst the other contributors are Emmylou Harris, Madeline Peyroux, Mama Cass and Judy Collins who offers an otherworldly take on ‘Story Of Isaac’.

As you might imagine  ‘DO IT AGAIN – THE SONGS OF BRIAN WILSON’ is a lot lighter and  a lot poppier. This is Ace’s second look at Wilson’s song book . The first retrospective was 2015’s ‘Here Today’ so, again, this set’s  title, ‘Do It Again’ is bob on! And why not do it again! Wilson is acknowledged as one of the best pop writers (and chronicler) of the  modern pop era.

This new 24 track collection features a broad sweep of artists. The biggest “name” is Fleetwood Mac who offer their version of ‘The Farmer’s Daughter’ and sometime Beach Boy, Bruce Johnson delivers ‘Deidre’ while surf duo Jan and Dean star with the quirky ‘Vegetables’. Amongst the other artists are Lisa Loeb, Frank Black, the Rubinoos  and the Kings Singers chorale whose take on ‘Please Let Me Wonder’ highlights the classic Wilson harmonies. Classic and classy pop.