Audiophile: Digital, December 2019

hfnalbum.pngElvis Presley
The Searcher -The Original Soundtrack
RCA 19075806732 (three discs)

If the title rings a bell, it means you're familiar with the finest documentary about Elvis ever produced. It was shown earlier this year in two parts, and it was rich with music from his early days until the end. Just the music is collected here: two CDs for Elvis with a third featuring the music which influenced him. The career-spanning, curated set features 55 tracks including alternate takes, plus 20 for the others, eg, Arthur Crudup, plus a 40-page booklet with rare images and track annotation. Sound quality for the archive material, too, is surprisingly good, and the whole stands up even if you've not seen the video. But trust me: after hearing this, you'll rush to Amazon to buy the Blu-ray [Sony BDJ2066]. KK


Creedence Clearwater Revival
Live At Woodstock
Fantasy 00888072100299

For those of us who couldn't afford the 39CD, £700 box set, expect a rash of discs like this, individual CDs of complete performances. A number of artists' appearances (eg, Jimi Hendrix's) have already appeared, and I suspect a bootlegger who gets hold of the complete box will be driven to issue them separately – this one's legit and it's phenomenal. Sound quality is much better than expected, and contrary to some reports, Creedence was at the top of their game and played with ferocity. Eleven tracks, each a hit or a favourite LP cut – 'Proud Mary', 'Green River,' 'I Put A Spell On You', etc – reminding us of what a great band this was. KK


The Thelonious Monk Quartet
Monk's Dream
Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 2207 (stereo SACD)

This 1963 release is almost too good to be true, especially if you've yet to immerse yourself in Monk. This came late in the bebop era but apparently it was his best-selling LP. It was his first for Columbia, working with the brilliant producer Teo Macero, and much of the material familiar via live versions on his earlier Riverside releases. The group featured tenor sax Charles Rouse, a Monk stalwart from 1959 to 1970, bassist John Ore and drummer Frankie Dunlop. (I just missed this lineup when I saw Monk in '67, Ore and Dunlop leaving in 1964, replaced respectively by Larry Gales and Ben Riley.) 'Just A Gigolo' is a joy, and the sound is phenomenal. KK


Dave Valentin
In Love's Time
Vocalion CDSML 8555

Disco-jazz flute? This probably wasn't a typical release for this flautist, a mainstay for the GRP label, partial to Latin music, but it's certainly representative 'of its era' – circa-1982, the period after George Benson made jazz populist, and so club-like that it could have inspired scenes in Miami Vice. That said, it's a superlative recording, with sharp transients, lots of air and a remarkable lack of artifice considering the period during which it was recorded, and a fine showcase for the man's exquisite playing, much in the tradition of his mentor, Hubert Laws. I hear my wife playing the instrument eight hours a day, so trust me: this SACD sounds real. KK