Audiophile: Vinyl, April 2022

hfnalbum.pngSteely Dan
Northeast Corridor – Steely Dan Live!
Universal 02435 93920 (two discs, 180g vinyl)

Two elephants in the room: the first is Steely Dan now means just Donald Fagen. The second is, per live Eagles, playing so note-perfect that it sounds like the studio originals. As for the first, Steely Dan never was a band per se save for Becker and Fagen (the notes carry the message 'In Memory of Walter Becker') with ace sidemen hired as needed, while the second isn't necessarily a bad thing. The 12 tracks are culled from the north-eastern leg of the 2019 US tour, but the sound is so uniform that it seems like a single gig – until revealing systems zoom in on each hall's acoustics. A dozen cuts don't cover all the Dan's gems (I'd have loved to hear 'Dirty Work'), but fans will find this comforting. KK


David Crosby
If I Could Only Remember My Name
Atlantic 03497 84341 (180g LP)

Crosby's solo debut lost out to Steely Dan this month only because it's been reissued so many times that I'd be staggered if anyone who loves West Coast rock – especially The Byrds or Crosby Stills Nash & Young – does not own a copy of this gentle, lush, introspective if somewhat nebulous folk-psychedelic masterpiece. The 50th anniversary remastering is spectacular, oozing warmth and atmosphere. This remains a monument to Laurel Canyon artistry, thanks to guests including Joni Mitchell, members of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana and CSNY, while David Crosby has never bettered this LP for either voice or composition. KK


Various Artists
May The Circle Remain Unbroken: A Tribute To Roky Erickson
Light In The Attic LITA182 (coloured vinyl LP and 7in flexi single)

Up there with Moondog, Alex Chilton, and Nico for irrefutable cult status, Erickson was an eccentric par excellence, but his peculiarity certainly didn't hamper his influence. Deemed a legend as founder of psychedelic gods The 13th Floor Elevators, he was treated to two tributes before this, the second to follow his passing in 2019. Its 12 all-new tracks kick off with ZZ Top leader and fellow Texan Billy F Gibbons' '(I've Got) Levitation', the other Roky fans including Jeff Tweedy, Lucinda Williams, and Gary Clark Jr. This is strange stuff, but there's an elegiac feel to the set, which embraces as many genres as it does emotions. KK


Greatest Hits 2.0
Far Out/Rhino R1 655988 (two discs)

With academic appreciation of 1970s protest funk long an essential part of the soul catechism, it's curious that War don't enjoy the levels of reverence afforded to, say, Curtis Mayfield or Marvin Gaye. But this hit-filled 20-track set, from 1970-1982, is a forceful reminder that – as per Mayfield and Gaye – transcendent music is as effective and essential as extreme lyrics for delivering a message. It's a glorious bass bomb begging to be heard over a massive system, kicking off with two tracks War recorded with post-Animals Eric Burdon, and reaching glorious peaks with 'The World Is A Ghetto', 'Cisco Kid' and streaming favourite 'Why Can't We Be Friends?'. KK