Audiophile: Vinyl, December 2022

hfnalbum.pngJoni Mitchell
The Asylum Albums (1972-1975)
Asylum/Rhino R1 680935 5x180g LPs

This magnificent sequel to The Reprise Albums 1968-1971 [Rhino R1 653984] could cause a few arguments, as that contained Blue – for some her greatest work. This, however, comprises no less than For The Roses, Court And Spark, The Hissing Of Summer Lawns, and the double live LP, Miles Of Aisles, a quartet of consecutive releases of such brilliance that few artists can boast such a run, perhaps only Dylan, The Stones, and The Beatles. Remastered by Bernie Grundman, pressed to perfection, original sleeves intact, it's hard to dispute that these represent her peak years. The title tracks alone support that, but 'Free Man In Paris'? 'You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio'? Another masterclass in genius. KK


Al Di Meola, John Mclaughlin, Paco De Lucia
Saturday Night In San Francisco
Impex Records IMP6045 (180g vinyl)

Who knew there was more material to complement that audiophile classic, Friday Night In San Francisco? Up there with Casino Royale and Muddy Waters' Folk Singer, it gave us three of the world's finest guitarists in concert at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco, feeding beautifully off each other. Lo and behold, here are seven more numbers from the next evening, 6th Dec '80, and there's no overlap with Friday night. Mastered by Bernie Grundman from the original 16-track tapes and pressed at RTI, it is sublime, both the sound and the packaging, with no less than Di Meola on the team that curated it. KK


Donald Fagen
The Nightfly Live
Universal 02435 94449 (180g vinyl)

Essentially a companion to April 2022's album of the month, Northeast Corridor – Steely Dan Live! [Universal 0243593920], here is another prime example of an increasingly popular subgenre, that of performing entire albums live à la Pink Floyd, Brian Wilson, etc. But this is so note-perfect that it begs an important question: why would you want to listen to it instead of the original release? Admittedly there are clues to the presence of an audience, and the sense of space is unlike that of the studio release, but fresh off listening to the One-Step, it was a case of 'déjà vu all over again'. That said, the sound is sensational, the music as suave as ever. KK


The Young Rascals
Mobile Fidelity MFSL 2-503 (two 45rpm LPs' mono)

Curious, this, as it's in mono despite the original stereo being mind-blowingly good. Although The Young Rascals (who dropped 'Young' for their next LP) meant little here, the title track was their highest UK entry, No 8 in 1967, and I'd be surprised if you haven't heard it on oldies radio programmes, as well as 'How Can I Be Sure' and the bonus, 'It's A Beautiful Morning'. This is some of the earliest and best 'blue-eyed soul', real New York street-smart stuff, which surely inspired Willy DeVille, Hall & Oates and others. Staggering musicianship, powerful vocals – I can still picture Dino Danelli twirling his drumsticks on the TV debut for Ed Sullivan in '66. KK