Audiophile: Digital, February 2022

hfnalbum.pngMichael Nesmith
Different Drum: The Lost RCA Victor Recordings
Real Gone Music/RCA RGM-1044

When will the world, rather than a cult, acknowledge ex-Monkee Nesmith as one of country rock's true pioneers? Those in the know have worn out their copies of his six albums for RCA, which gave us 'Different Drum' for Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Poneys, 'Listen To The Band' and other treasures, all imbued with Red Rhodes' pedal steel guitar. This fabulous collection contains 22 unreleased alternate takes and versions, instrumentals, and more. He passed away last December, months after touring with Mickey Dolenz, who covered Nesmith's songs on a new release [HFN Nov '21]. Mastered from the original multi-tracks, this serves both Monkees and country-rock devotees as a fine memorial. KK


Allman Brothers Band
The Final Note
Allman Brothers Band Recording Company ABBR00020

That this is the last-ever known live performance of the band with Duane Allman, taking place in Maryland only 12 days before his untimely death, is enough to render it an essential, incomparable historic rock document. What deserves your attention beyond the magnificent southern blues-rock content is that it was recorded onto cassette by happy accident, the tape untouched for a half-century. Although of dire bootleg quality, it is actually listenable, sounding better than one could imagine. The eight tracks – 'Statesboro Blues', 'Whipping Post' and the rest – are familiar to those who own the Fillmore East LPs, but the poignancy in retrospect is palpable. KK


Help Yourself
Passing Through – The Complete Studio Recordings
Esoteric QUCLEC63766 (six discs)

A 1970s phenomenon, 'pub rock' embraced numerous disparate groups, but what all had in common were a uniquely boozy British attitude and a love for US roots music, whether via The Byrds, The Dead or The Band. Help Yourself – less well-known than, say, Brinsley Schwarz – embraced this ethos, injecting a whiff of acid rock. The 66 remastered tracks comprise all of their albums – Help Yourself, Strange Affair, Beware The Shadow, and The Return Of Ken Whaley/Happy Days plus unreleased band and solo albums, a BBC session and demos. Loose, joyous and sounding simply magnificent, it's as if Quicksilver Messenger Service came from Kentish Town. KK


Gerry Rafferty
Rest In Blue
Parlophone 0190296700149

Ten years after his death – the irony might have amused him – comes a CD stickered 'The long awaited new album from Gerry Rafferty'. The irony is that it's one of his best, that warm voice still loved by all who ever heard 'Baker Street'. This, though, is an amalgam of demos, some dating back to 1970, lovingly assembled by his daughter into a coherent set and managing to sound like a package he might have curated. It is lush, gorgeous, varied and not short of surprises, originals alongside covers of the traditional 'Wild Mountain Thyme' and Richard & Linda Thompson's 'It's Just The Motion'. Its perfect coda? A 1990s re-make of 'Stuck In The Middle With You'. KK