Audiophile: Digital, April 2022

hfnalbum.pngThe Beatles
Let It Be
Apple 02507 13869 (five discs + Blu-ray); 02507 13889 (five LPs)

Let's not mince words. This 'meh' album has been given a pass for 50 years because it's from the greatest band of all time: you could argue The Beatles at their worst are still 500 times better than everyone else. Redeemed by two McCartney standards, this self-indulgent mess is saved here (despite Giles Martin's fine remastering) by extras that are actually superior to the album proper. Most interesting is the pre-Phil Spector version, aka Get Back, augmented by demos of songs that later appeared on singles, on Abbey Road (released before but recorded after Let It Be) and on George's and John's solo LPs. Hence it's essential, but 'I Dig A Pony', 'Maggie May'? There's vinyl too, if you'd prefer that. KK


Eric Clapton
The Lady In The Balcony: Lockdown Sessions
Mercury 3847260 (Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD discs)

Making up for a cancelled tour, this is part of the sub-genre created by COVID-19, as seen in releases from John Fogerty and others who, during forced isolation, delivered cosy and life-affirming sets. One of the first to go unplugged (semi-unplugged here), Clapton assembled his trusty team of drummer Steve Gadd, bassist Nathan East and pianist Chris Stainton to run through Peter Green's 'Man Of The World' and 'Black Magic Woman', 'Layla', 'After Midnight' and other classics. Whether or not you play it with the video from either disc, with either DTS-HD Master Audio or Dolby Atmos surround or LPCM stereo, it's a nice, if non-essential addition to EC's canon. KK


The Doors 50th Anniversary Edition
Elektra 03497 84337 (three CDs + 180g vinyl LP)

This 50th anniversary, expanded edition of the last proper Doors album with Jim Morrison will dazzle audiophiles because the remastering is superb and it contains that all-time demo fave, the atmospheric 'Riders On The Storm'. It is a perfect example of how to celebrate a record's milestone: a hard-cover gatefold sleeve has the original, remastered album on CD1 with two bonus tracks; two more CDs offer two hours' worth of previously unreleased, coherent studio sessions, all of which show the songs' development and truly are worth hearing; plus there's the original stereo LP remixed, on vinyl. All that's missing is the yellow celluloid window on the cover. KK


Moonshine Society
Sweet Thing (Special Edition)
Mojo Music MNSH001

Moonshine Society's second release is in itself a rare event: a fresh blues effort in the 21st century. The Washington DC band has been recognised by its peers via induction into the Blues Hall of Fame, Wammie awards, and winning the 2020 International Blues Challenge Best Self-Produced CD award. This expanded CD adds three bonus tracks to the 2019 LP and they're worth quelling any anti-CD sentiments, even if you own the vinyl. The group wears its influences on a collective sleeve, singer Jenny Langer sounding like a cross between Dana Gillespie and Janis Joplin, while 'Southern Road' is one of the best Johnny Winter pastiches I've ever heard. KK