Audiophile: Digital, August 2023

hfnalbum.pngMarshall Crenshaw
Marshall Crenshaw 40th Anniversary Edition
Yep Roc Records YEP-3027X

For me, Crenshaw remains the finest exponent of the US sub-genre of 'Children Of The Beatles' Anglophile bands, and I include The Raspberries, and even The Merry-Go-Round. What makes Crenshaw noteworthy is that he balanced Beatle-worship with equal passion for their main inspiration: Buddy Holly. This eponymous debut from 1982 was a breath of fresh air amidst a flood of dross (have I just mentioned Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet…?), with originals that – like Nick Lowe's work – recall myriad influences without sounding like pastiches. This sublime CD is loaded with bonus cuts, including an alternate of his masterpiece: '(You're My Favorite) Waste of Time'. Perfect power pop from start to finish. KK


The Boneshakers
One Foot In the Grave
Take It To The Bridge Records 22007

Celebrating 25 years since their debut album appeared, this Was Not Was-related outfit makes me think their first since 2006 could have been issued by Delaney & Bonnie 50 years ago. The swampy, bluesy concoction is so eclectic that those of broad listening experience will identify touches of Stax, southern rock à la The Allmans, 1950s R&B and anything else where funk dominates. The Boneshakers express this through a couple of decent originals and eight wildly diverse covers – The Stones' 'Let's Spend The Night Together', an obscure Dylan track, a Steve Van Zandt number – such that the overall effect is of a musical gumbo. KK


Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder
Get On Board
Nonesuch Records 2-667107

Real hi-fi provenance here, as both artists have had audiophile treatment before, while fans will rejoice in the two blues masters teaming up again, some 57 years after they formed the core of The Rising Sons. What makes this so appealing for our community is the raw, unplugged nature of the affair, 11 traditional numbers of which nearly half pay homage to Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee. In Taj Mahal's own words, this delightfully unplugged set – vocals, guitars, mandolin, harmonica, and son Joachim Cooder on drums – was captured as an 'old school live recording' and it feels that way. No contest: this is the best rural blues album of at least the last decade. KK


Various Artists
British Mod Sounds Volume 2
Edsel EDSL0102 (four discs)

Sub-titled 'The Freakbeat & Psych Years', this sequel to Eddie Piller Presents British Mod Sounds Of The 1960s [HFN Oct '22] is much more focused. Its 95 tracks ignore the diversity of early 'mod' per se (soul, jazz, rock, etc) to recall instead the UK's early contribution to psychedelia. The result is a joyous mash-up of purely British sounds and mock-California-ism, including covers of US hits such as The Flies' 'I'm Not Your Stepping Stone' and The Gods' 'Come On Down To My Boat Baby'. A mix of the famous and the obscure, of hits and long-lost gems, it begs but one thing: whole albums covering the bands less well-known than The Who or The Kinks. KK