Audiophile: Digital, November 2023

hfnalbum.pngThe Eagles
The Long Run
Mobile Fidelity UDSACD2234

Whatever your favourite Eagles album – provided you don't hate them, should you be too cool for school or an ex-punk – this SACD is spectacular on sonic as well as musical grounds. OK, I admit, I am partial to Desperados and One Of These Nights, but this was played repeatedly because it truly gave me the measure of the DeVore O/baby [HFN Aug '23]. The bottom end, the drum sound: exceptional, and throughout topped by those glorious harmonies and guitar work. Admittedly, I have a soft spot for the elegiac 'In The City', but the power of the title track and the punch of 'Heartbreak Tonight' charmed me with a forcefulness that has me yearning for the hopefully inevitable One-Step LP version. KK


The John Williams Syndicate
Into The Light
Wulfrun Records WULFRUN2

There are so many musicians named John Williams that I had to look up this one: he's a polymath who's worked for the BBC, run labels, a songwriter, producer, ad infinitum. This second solo release, a follow-up to 2021's Out Of The Darkness, finds him again doing a 'Roy Wood', ie, acting as the session's Svengali. This set is, like the No Ones' opposite, a time warp return to the glossier genres of the 1960s, this one recalling girl groups, California sunshine pop and other spirit-lifting delights. One item alone tells you all you need to know about this fine-sounding surprise: national treasure/living legend/nonagenarian Petula Clark is a guest vocalist. KK


Matt Monro
The Complete EMI Recordings 1971-1984
Strawberry Records/Cherry Red QCRJAMX015 (four CDs)

A vocalist praised so highly by no less than Frank Sinatra, it's a shame Monro is fading into memory. This stunning set contains the last of his recordings after leaving Capitol for a more sympathetic British label, EMI: four albums plus previously unreleased live tracks and alternate mixes. For the first time on CD are the superb The Long And Winding Road and If I Never Sing Another Song, with treasures such as that pair's title tracks, big band standards and – showing impeccable taste – covers of Simon & Garfunkel, Jimmy Webb and The Bee Gees, as well as The Beatles. But do skip over the jingle recorded for 'The Wonder of Woolworth's'. Yes, the old retailer. Ouch. KK


Various Artists
The Art Of Hifi
Octave Records OCT0030

Sub-titled 'Volume 01: Bass', this is the opening in what may turn out to be the definitive series of demo discs. As mentioned in past issues, PS Audio's Paul McGowan has been producing a series of books and matching SACDs to help in setting up one's system. This SACD contains ten tracks with extra-rich bottom octaves, recorded with a single point microphone. The music – jazz, pipe organ, percussive and otherwise – is unfamiliar but enticing in the manner of the best audiophile albums of yore (if that's not an oxymoron). This is not, however, burdened with instructions on how to listen, so it's as much a test of your ears as it is of your system/room. KK