Audiophile: Digital, May 2023

hfnalbum.pngQuincy Jones
The Dude
Intervention IS-SCD-18 (SACD)

In August 2022, the LP version of this soul/funk classic earned a respectable 85% rating, and this edition scores higher because the SACD transfer somehow has a bit more crispness and 'bite', which better suits disco-era funk.Incidentally, for those who always prefer vinyl to any digital format regardless of the actual sound, the scores here are relative to the format. Anyway, to recap, Jones's hit 1981 solo release could match any A-lister's work in the Philly soul or disco arenas, including his main charge, Michael Jackson. But the issue remains that the labels need to co-ordinate competing releases, in this case A&M's vinyl LP at the same time as Intervention's SACD – see the Steely Dan Can't Buy A Thrill, on the facing page. KK


The International Submarine Band
Safe At Home
Sundazed SC5615 (mono)

Twenty years after issuing a stereo LP of this 1968 country-rock gem and a stereo CD in 2004, Sundazed has a fresh CD which Gram Parsons acolytes will find irresistible. In addition to offering the album in mono, it contains a dozen previously unreleased tracks not found on any of the other versions all over Amazon. More country than rock, it's a precursor to The Byrds' Parsons-led Sweetheart Of The Rodeo, but I wish sticker writers would stop claiming this launched the genre: Carl Perkins and Buddy Holly beat it by more than a decade, The Beatles covered Buck Owens in 1965 and Rick Nelson went country rock in '66. Gram was good, not God. KK


Ted Nugent
Free For All/Cat Scratch Fever
Vocalion CDSML 8585 (SACD stereo/quadraphonic)

Nugent's second and third solo LPs, from 1976-77, haven't dated much because – as per Black Sabbath, AC/DC and others – the genres have barely evolved. OK, they've sired sub-genres like thrash or speed metal, but these guitar-driven sets could have been released in any year since 1968. Historically, this SACD is notable for a pre-Bat Out Of Hell Meatloaf, singing lead on five tracks on Free For All, while the sound is as in-your-face clean as Whitesnake's modern remastering (see facing page), in stereo and quad on the first, stereo-only on the second. Nugent is unfashionable in some circles for his pro-gun/anti-vegan views, but, wow, does he rock. KK


Tierro Band With Bridget Law
Everlasting Dance
Octave Records OCT0020 (SACD + data DVD; downloads to 192kHz)

With Law's delightfully screechy fiddle as the primary instrument here – think Charlie Daniels or Papa John Creach – and a mash-up sensibility regarding world music, this album will tick a lot of boxes. 'Eclectic' doesn't even come close to describing it. The flavours include Cajun, Latino, Mariachi,, folk and more, creating a blanketing of the listening space with lush strings and rolling percussion, including tabla for a touch of the East. The vocals, too, recall assorted territories, so those worried about cultural appropriation may implode. It's their loss: this sounds as good as any demo-grade audiophile release you could ever hope to hear. KK