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Mike Reinstein - Acts of Love (Irregular Records)

I've always found that a good opener is almost guaranteed to keep you listening, even if the title utilises one of Oxford University's top ten most irritating expressions. 24/7 Care is simply a beautiful pop song celebrating the most important people in our society, those who care for us, all wrapped up in an arrangement of a Ray Davies standard. It's actually such a good opener that you tend to stall getting on to the second song. It's important though that you do though, otherwise you just might miss The Gardener of Aleppo, a poignant comment on war, from the perspective of a thirteen year-old Syrian boy, lamenting the death of his father; a simple song, delivered on ukulele, but with an extraordinarily powerful message.

ACTS OF LOVE is Mike's fifth album to date and is one of those albums by a singer songwriter who cares, in that he cares about the songs that he writes, making sure there are no throw aways. Pick any of the songs here and it will mean something to you; whether it's the lazy lounge jazz arrangement of the title song Acts of Love, or the joyful optimism of  Everything's Going My Way. Then there's Seaford Song, which recalls a holiday when 'Little Eva sang on the house PA' to a thirteen year-old Mike Reinstein, which further references some of the most important names of the era, Stevie, Marvin, Martha and Sam and Dave, no prizes for guessing who Mike's referring to here. If this wasn't enough, this latest collection of songs includes a gorgeous tribute to Billie Holiday, from the angle of a young fan by the name of Peggy Lee, set to a melody based around Strange Fruit, Holiday's most poignant song. I Love Everything You Do is a highly accomplished song, which really should be recognised for what it is, a song written almost definitely as act of love. 

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky