Audiophile: Digital, July 2021

hfnalbum.pngThe Kinks
Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround Part 1
BMG CAT434BOX (three discs + two 7in singles)

Not, for me, as brilliant an album as the band's previous release, 1969's Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire), but this is still amazing, as it gave us 'Lola' – undeniably one of the band's most beloved songs. There are ample reasons to consider this (if with hindsight) a seminal release, and not just because it addresses trans issues: its observations about the music biz resonate even in the streaming era. This 50th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set features a remastered version of the original stereo release, while extras include alternate takes, other mixes, demos, live tracks and more, augmented by memorabilia and a 60-page hardback book. 'Apeman', 'Rats', the lauded title track… another Kinks gem. KK


Randy California & Spirit
The Euro-American Years 1979-1983
Esoteric Recordings ECLEC62734 (six discs)

Fans of this supreme West Coast 1960s rock force will note this dates from the time past the glory days of the original lineup. It is, however, still worthy, while rightly placing California's name above Spirit's, as the late wizard guitarist is responsible for the bulk of the content. The original compiler expanded, revised and remastered the 4CD box set from 2006 – noteworthy are the added concert discs, including Spirit in 1981, and California at the Reading and Glastonbury Festivals in 1982. Featured are loads of Spirit classics – yes, 'I Got A Line On You' – and great cover versions (a California specialty), with plenty of sublime guitar work throughout. KK


The Everly Brothers
The Cadence Recordings
Edsel EDSL0056 (three discs; mono/stereo)

Another easy step in assembling a complete Everly Brothers library, this wonderful package contains 'everything they recorded for the Cadence label' covering 1957-1960 – which means the first chapter of the duo that set the bar for harmony, after a false start with Columbia. Two albums occupy CDs 1 and 2, while the third gathers singles and rarities. And what a collection it is: 'Bye Bye Love', 'Wake Up Little Susie', 'All I Have To Do Is Dream', covers of early rock 'n' roll, country and folk material, and much more. This really is a no-brainer buy if you want to hear the brothers who inspired everyone from The Beatles to The Beach Boys to Simon & Garfunkel. KK


Kursaal Flyers
Little Does She Know
RPM RPMBX 551 (four discs)

Containing their total output – three studio albums, one live, the 1988 reunion and bonus cuts – this is why some of us hate punk: the Kursaals were part of the joyous pub rock movement of the early 1970s, which punk effectively killed off. Listening to this in one sitting to chart their evolution, you'll hear how the band started out sounding exactly like The Flying Burrito Brothers, before injecting pop, rock and even swing. The musicianship is deliciously ironic, a British interpretation of US country rock, bliss from start to finish. Even the straight covers – 'Route 66' and 'Friday On My Mind' – are knock-outs. Now, where are my Brinsley Schwarz albums? KK