Audiophile: Vinyl, November 2022

hfnalbum.pngEric Clapton
Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-020 (two 45rpm One-Step LPs)

When released in 1992, this proved a milestone for three reasons. First, regardless of current anti-EC Twitter-trolling because of his politics, it reminded everyone why he was dubbed 'God' at the ripe old age of 20. There's so much to hear in his acoustic work that many forget he does more than electric blues or hard rock. Next came the sound quality, as exceptional as one would expect from a live session. Lastly, it established 'unplugged' as a genre of its own by selling 26 million copies, to become the best-selling live album of all time. This staggering set gilds the lily – it always was worth 90% on any format – and it's as vivid as I have heard. Yes, you will choke up at 'Tears In Heaven'. And 'Layla'? Magical. KK


Ry Cooder
Ry Cooder
Speakers Corner/Reprise RS6402 (180g vinyl)

Ever an audiophile fave, Cooder never fails to delight with his lyrical playing. I was blown away by his slide work on Jagger's 'Memo From Turner', so when this was released three months later, in December 1970, it proved a feast. Abetted by members of The Burritos, The Turtles, Little Feat, and The Mothers, with Van Dyke Parks and Lenny Waronker producing, the results were irresistible. Cooder was, and remains, as eclectic as his UK opposite numbers – Richard Thompson and Albert Lee – so every moment is like a course in musicology, in Cooder's case American roots music and blues. If you love bottleneck and slide, with huge doses of funk and folk, start here. KK


The Jazz Passengers
Individually Twisted
Modern Harmonic MH-8239 (coloured vinyl)

Jazz-rock is such a well-established genre that this venture from 1996 with two veteran 'New Wave' deities must have been inevitable. As the cover notes, the guests were Deborah Harry throughout (including a quirky take on Blondie's 'The Tide Is High') and Elvis Costello on two tracks, one of which is a duet with Harry. Like all cool hybrids, this will delight some and irritate others, but its spirit reminds me of the rock artists' 1984 tribute to Thelonius Monk, That's The Way I Feel – and I mean that as a compliment. The material covers a number of bases, but overall there's consistency, the sound is superb and Roy Nathanson's fresh liner notes are perfect. KK


Richard Thompson
(Guitar, Vocal) - A Collection Of Unreleased And Rare Material 1967-1976
Island Records 357 625-9 (two 180g vinyl LPs)

Remastered and on superbly quiet 180g discs, this 45th anniversary reissue covers Thompson's early solo years as well as work with Fairport Convention and ex-wife Linda. A showcase of his versatility, it highlights Thompson's eclecticism while illustrating the evolution of British folk and roots music. Much of it suggests other paths he might have taken, so it's not all finger-in-the-ear droning: material from Emmitt Rhodes, Chuck Berry and Dan Penn & Chips Moman, and a distinctly British rendering of The Byrds' 'The Ballad of Easy Rider'. The sound signature changes with the studios and the years, but overall it's a delight. KK