Audiophile: Digital, June 2020

hfnalbum.pngMitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels
Sockin' It To You
RPM Records QRPMT549 (three discs)

If the name doesn't mean a thing to you, that's because the UK was deprived of this US powerhouse, now ironically a demi-god for rockers in Germany. Pumping out the best party music and blue-eyed soul imaginable in the mid '60s, à la Gary U S Bonds, James Brown-fan Ryder and band – later to provide members of Cactus and Lynyrd Skynyrd – established their home base as a hard rock capital and gave us masterpieces like 'Little Latin Lupe Lu' (destroying The Righteous Brothers' version), 'Jenny Take A Ride', 'Devil With A Blue Dress On…' and others. This set contains all the band's output and the first Ryder solo LP, with plenty of extras. Crank up the volume and you're in Frye Hall, circa '67. KK


Herbie Hancock
Vocalion CDSML 8556 (multi-channel SACD)

Vocalion has issued this 1973 jazz treasure with both PCM stereo and SACD surround layers, the latter with the original SQ quadraphonic mix. The notes explain that the original quad-mix tapes are missing, so Vocalion used the best available 'discrete' sources. Three tracks running to just under 40min, HH's last outing with the Mwandishi crew, his first for Columbia and 'the one before' the magnificent, commercially-huge Headhunters, Sextant is what one calls a 'soundscape', but don't let that cliché deter you. It is lush, gorgeous, funky and hypnotic, very Miles-y, and you will find it hard not to lose yourself in the surround-sound version here. KK


The Honeycombs
Have I The Right?
RPM Records QRPMBX548 (part mono; three CDs)

Leaving aside my disdain for Joe Meek, this fine box set deserves your attention for the title track alone, an astounding moment in pop history to rank with The Dave Clark Five's 'Glad All Over' for sheer, grab-you-by-the-ears impact, catchiness and sure-fire hit potential. Arguably the only song Meek ever produced that even comes close to meriting the praise heaped on him, it's also this band's finest moment. A kick-ass female drummer (still a novelty), infectious featherweight pop – it's a pleasant footnote to what was happening in the UK when The Beatles walked the earth. The set includes everything the group recorded, including the live-in-Tokyo album. KK

Mike Mcgear
Esoteric Recordings ECLEC32655 (two CDs + DVD)

I 'get' multi-disc sets of The Beatles' White Album or The Band's eponymous second LP, but Paul McCartney's brother's oddball solo from 1974? This ex-member of The Scaffold and sibling of the world's most successful songwriter did deliver a gorgeous, whimsical release, but expanding it with outtakes, 'odd ditties' and an interview DVD is strictly a move for Macca completists, who does guest here, along with the rest of Wings and other luminaries. This is slick, intriguing, with sublime sound – the drum solo on 'What Do We Really Know?' is audiophile-level – so it's not that self-indulgent. But I confess I bought it because I'm a Fab Four completist. KK