Audiophile: Digital (November 2018)

hfnalbum.pngEleanor Mcevoy
Forgotten Dreams
Chasing The Dragon VALCD006; LP: ACTD 006

Ms McEvoy has been unusually prolific of late, yet this surprise came not from the label she usually records for, but via Mike Valentine's Chasing The Dragon [see HFN Sep '15]. What they've cooked up is a sublime live-in-the-studio session, the sort that has high-end aficionados swooning because of the sonic purity and dazzling atmosphere. Even over headphones or a cheap system, the space is clearly, unmistakably defined. These are genuine direct-to-format recordings with McEvoy on acoustic or electric guitar, violin and piano, accompanied by pianist Damon Butcher, performing her own songs plus an amusing (and winsomely sexy) cover of The Pointer Sisters' 'Slow Hand'. KK


The Flying Burrito Bros
The Gilded Palace Of Sin
Intervention Records IR-SCD3

Despite my reservations about the unrestrained worship shown for Gram Parsons (when the real star of this group was probably fellow ex-Byrd Chris Hillman), this gem from 1969 remains a touchstone in the growth of country-rock. Once past Parsons' irritating creator-of-a-genre-conceit, you find it is actually more country than rock, and is, ironically, as good as any pure 'yee-hah' C&W effort ever to come out of Nashville. Aching covers of two Dan Penn soul classics, nine sublime originals that sound like you're crying into your beer, musicianship worthy of The Dillards or Ms Krauss – this deserves its spot on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. KK


Glenn Frey
Above The Clouds
Geffen/Universal 00602567007180 (three CDs +DVD)

If you loved The Eagles – a guilty pleasure for most audiophiles – this hurts: Frey died suddenly in January 2016, aged 67, so this is a memorial as well as a celebration. One of the band's founding members, this singer/songwriter/guitarist also produced a handful of solo albums that came pretty close to matching his work with The Eagles. This classy set covers his solo career, with the unusual bonus of a separate CD containing the lone, hard-to-find album by Longbranch Pennywhistle, the band he was in earlier, with J D Souther. Also to savour is a concert DVD from Dublin in 1992, beautifully performed and recorded, with some Eagles faves included as well. KK


It Shall Be
Esoteric/Cherry Red ECLEC52619 (part mono; five discs)

Like Love, Spirit was a West Coast band with influence, reputation and a fervent following not matched by record sales. Based around guitar genius Randy California (who was pals with Hendrix), the music was ever-imaginative. Sub-titled The Ode & Epic Recordings 1968-1972, this pretty much contains all their work from the period, including the first LP in mono and stereo, rare singles, the soundtrack to The Model Shop and much more. Classy hard rock with jazz elements from the First Psychedelic Ear it eschews cliché. High points such as the entire The Twelve Dreams Of Doctor Sardonicus and the riff-driven 'I Got A Line On You' justify all claims to greatness. KK