Audiophile: Vinyl, May 2023

hfnalbum.pngVince Guaraldi Trio
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Craft/Fantasy 8431 (coloured vinyl); SACD; BD Audio

There is a point to reviewing a Christmas LP in May. Yes, this is a soundtrack to an animated film, but the music transcends the holiday itself as well as the feature it accompanies, because, irrespective of its mix of incidental music and seasonal classics such as 'Hark! The Herald Angels Sing' and 'O Tannenbaum', it's simply a gorgeous-sounding, gentle jazz set that has been pushing audiophile buttons since 1972. This re-release is offered in black, 'snowstorm', or a handful of other coloured vinyl choices (some exclusive to US or online retailers), a Super Deluxe 4CD/Blu-ray Audio box set, an 80-track digital collection and 2LP or 2CD editions. I'm happy with this single-LP version, because it is a joy all year 'round. KK


Elvis Presley
Blue Hawaii
Mobile Fidelity MFSL2-504 (two 45rpm LPs); UDSACD 2226

Accompanying one of the last of his watchable movies before it all turned turgid, 1961's Blue Hawaii was a fun comedy that suited Elvis's return to civilian life. While most of his soundtracks failed to deliver even one song to equal his non-movie tunes, this film at least gave us one worthy of any of his greatest hits packages: the magnificent 'Can't Help Falling In Love'. Although the rest is more like his usual Hollywood fare, these latest transfer LPs add to the slim canon of Elvis's audiophile reissues – but then all RCA recordings of this era are uniformly superb-sounding. Blue Hawaii is also released on SACD, possessing a slightly sharper treble. KK


Steely Dan
Can't Buy A Thrill
Geffen B00035111-01 LP

Everyone has their fave Steely Dan LP – most audiophiles cite Aja – but this, their 1972 debut, is mine. Many cerebral rock bands followed The Beatles' genre-launching Rubber Soul, but Steely Dan further elevated the IQ by dozens of points, its freshness remaining 50 years on. For brainy listeners, their combination of thought-provoking lyrics and music rooted in jazz countered the irritating pretence of prog-rock. This first effort – the equal of The Doors' debut – ranged from the rock of 'Reelin' In The Years' to the funk of 'Do It Again' to the tragedy of 'Dirty Work'. It only misses LP of the Month because of Analogue Productions' UHQR version. KK


Greatest Hits Revisited - Remixed - Remastered
Rhino RI 680917 (two 180g LPs)

As the subtitle reveals, this collection delivers fresh takes on 16 songs taken from 'the sonic time capsule of the '80s and '90s, and brought up to date, sound-wise', says lead singer David Coverdale, while the originals remain 'for those who consider them holy relics'. This should disarm purists averse to extra instrumentation on many tracks, eg, by former guitarist Adrian Vandenberg on 'The Deeper The Love' and 'Judgment Day'. Whatever your stand, the new mixes are super-clean and detailed, with no loss of stadium-filling power. Off hand, I can't name another hard rock/heavy metal band that has taken such care with re-presenting its back catalogue. KK