Audiophile: Digital, September 2020

hfnalbum.pngT Rex
Electric Warrior
Mobile Fidelity UDSACD2209

It's easy to forget how beautifully-arranged and produced were Marc Bolan's efforts, given that he was, during his lifetime, mere Top Of The Pops fodder. The cult following required his James Dean-like demise, and one has to be careful not to rile the fan-boys and girls lest trolling ensue. This LP was the high point of his career, so you ignore the fact that he couldn't get arrested in the USA: it reached No 1 in the UK charts, and stands as an exemplar of both the glam genre and his flaky, hippie-on-steroids, fruit-loop persona. 'Jeepster' and 'Bang A Gong (Get It On)' are enough to qualify this set as irresistible, while the sound will knock you out. Hmm… just realised that Bolan would have loved the idea of 'trolls'. KK

The Box Tops
The Letter/Neon Rainbow, Cry Like A Baby,
Non Stop, Dimensions
BGO BGOCD1400 (two discs)

Essential '60s rock: all four of The Box Tops' albums for Bell Records from 1967-69, with bonus tracks and superb sound. If they're unfamiliar to you, you'll know 'The Letter', with various covers including Joe Cocker's, who had a hit with it. Notable for resident genius, the late Alex Chilton, the group has a cult following, especially among indie bands, because Chilton later formed Big Star. The Box Tops were plagued by numerous problems, their biggest hits barely indicating that their LPs were among the earliest examples of 'blue-eyed soul'. This is a revamped version of BGO's earlier set, with revised tracks and new notes. KK


Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
Black & Blue/Wake Up Everybody
Vocalion CDSML8571 (multi-channel SACD)

Vocalion continues what is tantamount to a public service by releasing hard-to-find 1970s 'quad' recordings on multi-channel/stereo hybrid SACDs – in this case another desirable 'Philly Sound' disco/soul pairing from 1973 and 1975. Classic Gamble & Huff 'smooth funk', Black & Blue yielded the hits, 'The Love I Lost' and 'Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Your Love Back)', plus a sleek cover of 'Cabaret', while Wake Up Everybody was the last of the group's releases to feature Teddy Pendergrass before he went solo. Fans of the genre will also appreciate 'Don't Leave Me This Way', released two years before it became a disco smash hit for Thelma Houston. KK


The Monkees
Live – The Mike And Micky Show
Rhino R2 625192

With Davey Jones and Peter Tork passing away respectively in 2012 and 2019, the surviving members, Mike Nesmith and Micky Dolenz, have kept the flame burning with a surprisingly satisfying concert album, which is also the band's first official live release. All of their massive hits are here, plus a selection of Nesmith's songs as a solo artist (the only Monkee to achieve any success outside of the band). It's slick, nostalgic and above all fun, which the band's po-faced detractors have finally realised was the whole point. If you're old enough to remember a group derided as 'the Pre-Fab Four', try not singing along to 'Daydream Believer' and 'I'm A Believer'. KK