Audiophile: Vinyl, June 2023

hfnalbum.pngAllen Toussaint
Life, Love And Faith
Speakers Corner/Reprise MS2062 (180g vinyl)

Best known as a producer, influencer and mentor in the world of New Orleans R&B, jazz, and soul, Toussaint has released his own albums sporadically. This 1972 gem was only his fourth solo after a 1958 debut, but it's as eclectic as was his career as a collaborator with everyone from Lee Dorsey, Dr John, and The Meters to Willy DeVille and Paul McCartney. If you had to force this into a niche, it would qualify more as soul than R&B, much of its period, but of a quality to match, say, Quincy Jones when it comes to sheer versatility. The tracks comprise 12 of his own compositions, the LP proving so influential – a precursor to later funk sub-genres – that it sounds more familiar than you might expect. KK


Gilbert O'Sullivan

It's 51 years since GOS (as he's known to fans) gave us the timeless 'Alone Again Naturally', yet his first new studio album since his eponymous release of 2018 shows little sign of time passing. The terrifyingly young-looking GOS on the cover begs thoughts of Dorian Gray, but whatever his anti-ageing secret, the sound is super-slick in the current mode, and he's abetted by star guests Mick Hucknall and KT Tunstall. The latter joins him on 'Take Love', a song which could be something Paul McCartney might have offered Ringo for one of his solo sets. Fans are gonna love this, and it's also out on clear vinyl, CD, cassette, and every flavour of digital download. KK


Sundazed LP5593 (clear vinyl)

You gotta thank Sundazed for its continued vault-trawling for overlooked bands. This lone, eponymous LP dates from 1971, and it's a pleasant surprise because anything billed as 'Progressive rock bent with a considerable amount of rock'n'roll gospel soul!' usually means its obscurity is deserved. Instead, this Kansas band had skilled musical chops and an ear for great material, resulting in excellent takes on Yes's 'Time And A Word' and Edgar Winter's 'Winter's Dream'. Some might question this, but Sanctuary sounds to me like Vanilla Fudge-meets-Jeremy & The Satyrs – especially the vocals, flute and keyboards – so that's a reason to dig out the bong. KK


The Yardbirds
Heart Full Of Soul – The Best Of The Yardbirds
Demon DEMREC1016 (140g vinyl; mono/stereo)

Precious few bands – just The Beatles, Byrds and Buffalo Springfield – excelled in, or pioneered as many genres (blues, punk, heavy metal, psychedelia), and sired as many A-list careers (guitar gods Clapton, Beck and Page, and Led Zeppelin), as did The Yardbirds, so this new 'best of' is crucial. Noteworthy are superb liner notes and Demon acquiring tracks from the key years, 1964-68, involving more than one label. So, a tip of the hat for licensing for 'For Your Love', 'I'm A Man', 'Shapes Of Things', 'Lost Women' and 13 others. My only complaints? Mono cuts of stereo gems and it could've been a 2LP set with no filler. As a tribute to early Jeff Beck? Perfect. KK