Audiophile: Digital, February 2023

hfnalbum.pngKris Kristofferson
The Silver Tongued Devil And I
Vocalion 2CDLK 4635 (two SACDs)

What a bargain! This multi-channel SACD, with the original 1970s quadraphonic mixes transferred to 5.1, contains four consecutive Kristofferson albums on two discs, his second-through-fourth LPs from 1971-74. OK, I could have done with his eponymous debut with 'Me And Bobby McGhee', but let's not be selfish. This package contains enough dazzling examples of his songwriting skills to more than compensate, while the roster of musicians will impress anyone who appreciates the best of Nashville. But here's the real secret why this sounds so fantastic: the originals were on Monument, Fred Foster produced a couple of them, and yes, that means sound up there with the best of Roy Orbison. KK


The 8th Wonders Of The World
The 8th Wonders Of The World
BeatRocket BRCD169

Like the Harlots, this is an amazing find for archive dredgers enamoured of the myriad genres of rock in the 1960s. As such, it's impossible to categorise this forgotten NY band, as the 13 tracks here – four from two singles and nine previously unreleased – embrace everything from cod-British Invasion/Fab Four Wannabee pop to surf to psychedelia, along the way sounding like someone fed the Nuggets garage rock compilation into a computer and asked an algorithm to create a pastiche. This really is amazingly accomplished (US-style, not 1970s British) punk that – again like the Harlots – begs the question: how did these guys not become a huge success? KK


Bonnie & Taylor Sims
Octave OCT0011 (SACD + DVD; downloads to DSD64, 192kHz/24-bit)

Forget the audiophile stuff for a moment, even though Octave is clearly a label aimed at hi-fi enthusiasts and disc 2 is set squarely at listeners with Grade-A DACs and a penchant for comparing formats via computer [HFN Mar '22]. This is an utterly gorgeous set that once more portrays the label as partial to acoustic roots music. As ever, the recording quality shows what digital can deliver when done right, while this duo reminded me of the similarly-named Delaney & Bonnie, though the latter were more swampy and this pairing more unplugged. Mandolin, acoustic guitar and upright bass make this easy on the ears, and Bonnie is a classic country warbler. KK


The Young Rascals
Mobile Fidelity UDSACD2225 (mono SACD)

Last December saw the review of the vinyl version, which I loved, but was puzzled by the choice of mono instead of stereo. Here's the SACD, also in mono, and while I remain perplexed – maybe the stereo masters are shot away? – the chance to compare the two is irresistible. As expected, the vinyl is warmer, the SACD more crisp, while, thanks to the nature of mono, soundstage is not 'a thing'. Again, amazing blue-eyed soul from 1967, notable for the title track, 'How Can I Be Sure' and the bonus, 'It's A Beautiful Morning' and with no sense of compromise if you aren't using vinyl. It's a testimony to the superiority of SACD over other digital formats. KK