Audiophile: Digital, August 2019

hfnalbum.pngKeith Richards
Talk Is Cheap
Mindless Records/BMG BMGCAT349DCDX (two discs)

Long a cult favourite among audiophiles – Mobile Fidelity issued it on CD and I know one who hands out copies of the vinyl edition to friends – Richards' solo debut from 1988 is arguably the 'best Rolling Stones album not actually recorded by the Stones'. It certainly massacres Jagger's solo efforts, as it embodies Stones virtues while typifying what Richards contributes to the band. This 30th anniversary reissue features a second CD with six bonus tracks, while there's also a six-disc collector's set now changing hands for hundreds. Ouch. 'Take It So Hard' is the standout track, typical of this raunchy, rocking affair, which finds Richards accompanied by ex-Stone Mick Taylor and a plethora of astounding musicians. KK


Dana Gillespie
What Memories We Make
Mainman/Cherry Red CDBRED745 (two discs)

An exercise in contrasts: this delicious set contains 'The Complete Mainman Recordings 1971-74'. This was the period when Gillespie was taken under David Bowie's wing – he wrote 'Andy Warhol' for her – as she was being groomed for glam. That certainly describes 1973's Weren't Born A Man, but the follow-up, Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle, segues into the blues which have dominated her recording career ever since. A flip of Fleetwood Mac's evolution from blues to pop, Gillespie did the opposite, along the way acting in films and on stage. She's a true renaissance woman, and you must have this if you're a Bowie/Ronson buff. KK


Paul Mauriat
Penelope & Holidays
Vocalion CDLK4607 (multi-channel SACD)

Skip this if you hate 'easy listening'. I, however, have a special regard for it because of its role in establishing stereo, as well as high-end audio, through lush-sounding LPs and reel-to-reel tapes in the 1950s and 1960s. As saccharine a genre as it may seem, the music is soothing and the sound can be, well, spectacular, as with this release. Here we have a brace of Mauriat's orchestral soma from 1970-72, at the height of quadraphonic mania, and I have to admit that even schmaltzy versions of 'El Condor Pasa' and 'My Sweet Lord' have their charms. I balk, though, at 'In The Summertime'. As for the surround aspect? All-embracing, silky and diaphanous. KK


Richard Thompson
Rumour And Sigh
Mobile Fidelity UDSACD2194

Reviewed on 180g vinyl in Jan '18, this stunning work exploits the analogue-like detail and textures available from SACD by creating a near-perfect digital approximation of the LP. The latter is slightly less aggressive at the frequency extremes, which – given the intensity of some of the tracks – might actually seem less suited to enabling the impact the music demands. That aside, this characteristically morose 1991 release merits the same score, delivering as it does some of the most incendiary guitar work Thompson has produced, and in one of his most accessible albums out of a vast and eclectic body of work. Demo-quality sound. KK