Audiophile: Digital, April 2020

hfnalbum.pngLynn Anderson
Rose Garden & Greatest Hits
Vocalion CDLK4612 (multi-channel SACD)

Long before Ken Burns' dazzling history of country music was broadcast last year, Vocalion was delivering sublime examples of the genre; I hope that series inspires many of you not au fait with C&W to investigate it, starting with this two-on-one from one of its finest female vocalists. 'Rose Garden' was a massive hit for Anderson that crossed over to the mainstream; the eponymous album is a delight and filled with great covers like 'It's Only Make Believe'. The hits collection contains 11 gems, including the late singer's aching version of 'Cry'. The surround-sound may disconcert because there are whole instruments behind the listener, but, hey, that was 1970s 'quad' – and you can always play it in stereo. KK


In Deep, Nexus And Ring Of Hands
Vocalion 2CDSML 8568 (two hybrid SACDs)

An opportunity to switch between layers on your SACD player: this double-disc set features three albums on two hybrid SACDs but not all tracks are multi-channel – you have to access four stereo-only songs on Disc 1 from the CD layer. No worries, for the three albums sound wonderful – classic and hugely influential powerhouse 1970s rock from ex-Zombie Rod Argent, journeyman rocker and ace songsmith Russ Ballard, and Kinks-to-be Jim Rodford and Bob Henrit. 'God Gave Rock And Roll To You' – a huge cover hit for Kiss – kicks off the proceedings and the material remains of that standard, though the band veered more and more toward grandiose prog-rock. KK


2L 2L-158-SABD (SACD + Blu-ray Audio)

This ear-cosseting choir, its talents used in both Frozen films, have produced an album of gossamer-light material, featuring Norwegian folk songs and familiar Christmas tunes, but the appeal for you, the enthusiast, goes beyond that. In addition to sounding so gorgeous that it's chilling, this set is an obsessive audiophile's dream: both a hybrid SACD with 5.1 and stereo DSD, and 'Red Book' CD, and a Pure Audio Blu-ray with – deep breath – mShuttle MQA/FLAC/MP3, 2.0 LPCM 192kHz/24-bit, 5.1 DTS HDMA 192kHz/24-bit, 7.1.4 Auro-3D 96kHz, and 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos 48kHz. I listened to both in stereo and 5.1 but won't ruin your fun by saying which I prefer! KK


Bob Dylan
Travelin' Thru Featuring Johnny Cash
Columbia Legacy 19075981932 (three discs)

If like me you rate John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline as two of Dylan's best, and you think Johnny Cash is a unique musical giant, you might deem this the best yet in Dylan's 'Bootleg Series'. Vol 15 in this staggering exercise in archive-dredging, contains 50 tracks dating from 1967-69, with alternate takes from both of those albums on CD1, while CDs 2 and 3 give us more of his work with Cash (eg, a fabulous duet on 'I Still Miss Someone'), live material from Cash's TV show, and outtakes from Self Portrait. This is 'country' Bob, which – along with the Lynn Anderson title – makes this a kind of C&W month, but there's nothing wrong with that: the music is fabulous. KK