Audiophile: Vinyl, October 2023

hfnalbum.pngJohn Lee Hooker
Craft Recordings/VeeJay 0888072424609 (180g vinyl)

Although this is a 60th Anniversary reissue, it suffers an anomaly you'd have thought was eliminated by 1961: JLH's vocals are extreme stage left, suggesting (like early Beatles LPs heard in original, true stereo) that this was a two-track recording intended for a mono remix. Get past that, and it remains one of the best-sounding blues albums of all time. Its influence is such that it must have blown minds in the UK; the opener, 'Boom Boom', provided a hit for The Animals. Backed by one of the earliest lineups of Motown's peerless Funk Brothers, it's truly electric, and the title says it all. Burnin' ranks up there with Muddy Waters' Folk Singer and Junior Wells/Buddy Guy's Hoodoo Man Blues. KK


The Doobie Brothers
The Captain And Me
Speakers Corner BS2694 (180g vinyl)

A pristine 50th Anniversary re-press of a much-loved audiophile fave, this affords you the opportunity to hear what may be the best-ever issues of 'Long Train Runnin'' and the irresistible 'China Grove', all killer vocals and chunky transients to tickle your tweeters. Though it's likely that its predecessor, Toulouse Street, broke the band stateside after the failure of their eponymous debut, thanks to the anthem-like opener, 'Listen To The Music', this climbed further up the charts. Their third album, it is still regarded by many as their best, a perfect slice of 1970s Left Coast rock, but with more of an edge than might be anticipated of a California band. KK


The Id
The Inner Sounds Of The Id
Sundazed LP5605 (two coloured vinyl LPs; mono/stereo)

Sundazed has already raised the bar for finding lost psychedelia but this double will be hard to top. Not only does it include the super-rare mono original, a second LP has a version of the entire LP in alternate stereo takes. A shocker back in 1967 (especially if you were new to, say, mescalin or LSD!) it's still avant-garde enough to dazzle a half-century-plus later. Their only release, this is apparently a concept LP related to Sigmund Freud's theories, but it strikes me as much as a child of its time. That said, it's not the formless noise typical of the genre. This gatefold set features unseen photos and must-read liner notes by Mike Vernon and Id bassist Glenn Cass. KK


The Undertones
The Undertones
Arpeck/BMG BMGCAT775LPX (coloured vinyl)

A thumbnail sketch of The Undertones might suggest an amalgam of post-punk energy/power pop/indie attitude, but that understates their matchless talent at creating singles (and tracks) of undeniable brilliance. At a time when smug pomposity ruled the airwaves, this eponymous debut from 1979 arrived, as if its members swallowed whole the ethos of the legendary Nuggets garage band anthology. For 'Teenage Kicks', let alone 'Here Comes The Summer' and 'Jimmy, Jimmy', the Undertones arguably deserve more respect than, say, Nirvana's Gen X anthem 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'. Also out is the follow-up, Hypnotised [BMGCAT776LPX]. KK