Audiophile: Digital, June 2022

hfnalbum.pngThe Beau Brummels
Turn Around: The Complete Recordings 1964-1970
Now Sounds OCRNOWBX58 (eight discs)

'Who?' you're thinking, due to no UK chart activity, but San Francisco's Beau Brummels (predating the Dead and the Airplane) were pioneers of folk rock and country rock, though unjustly neglected. If you love either genre, this is an essential acquisition. It kicks off with their finest song, 'Laugh Laugh', its generous 228 tracks expanding on Sundazed's and Rhino's earlier sets. If you're wondering why this peerless example of archival curating, involving many sources, deserves the score below, it does so because it (obviously) contains the whole of country rock masterpieces Triangle and Bradley's Barn. And just wait until you hear the remastered stereo mixes, the earliest produced by a young Sly Stone. KK


Marianne Faithfull
The Montreux Years

Yet again, the Montreux Jazz Festival archives deliver us material from other genres, though some might regard the inventive Ms Faithfull as jazz-related. Five concerts have been accessed and remastered, the quintet spanning 1995-2009. As anticipated, they focused on her re-emergence, so yes, 'Broken English' appears, as do her exceptional takes on The Rolling Stones' 'Sister Morphine' and John Lennon's 'Working Class Hero'. It's interesting that she covered 'Come And Stay With Me' from her 1960s work, but no sign of her first hit, 'As Tears Go By', also penned by The Stones. That omission aside, this is a superb-sounding, and sung, set. KK


Various Artists
Audiophile Masters Volume II
Octave Records OCT-0012 (SACD + DVD Data Disc)

Not that it isn't worth a critique, and this is not a backhanded compliment, but the varied, mainly unplugged music on this set is almost secondary to the astounding sound quality – another indication that 1970s-style 'audiophile discs' are making a comeback. With PS Audio behind Octave Records, the standards are as high as they can be for digital product, and this set supplies those inclined to compare formats with predominantly acoustic material, beautifully-recorded vocals and music that reminds me of Wyndham Hill. This is certainly a challenge for your SACD player and your computer or DVD player, with the second disc offering WAV files. KK


Various Artists
Gritty 60's Garage & Punk
BeatRocket/Sundazed BRCD170 CD

It's impossible to count all the post-Nuggets collections of US 'garage' and 'punk' bands (the latter usage predating the co-opting of the term for dire 1970s British groups), but this one is imaginative and rich with obscure treasures. The genre embraced all the small-label, independent, semi-pro, Stones-wannabee bands that followed in the wake of the British Invasion, the tracks including a song from a young Kenny Loggins, Butch Engle & the Styx, one from what became the all-girl band Birtha and other rock footnotes worth hearing. What surprised me was the uniformly high sound quality, while expecting compression, grain, and – as the title says – grit. KK