Audiophile: Vinyl, April 2020

Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-012 (Two 180g 45rpm One-Step LPs)

You can assume that Yes's fourth LP will be one of the fastest-selling One-Step albums, because this 1971 title is a beloved prog-rock classic which even I can sit through without losing the will to live or the need for psychedelics. From the opening notes of 'Roundabout' you know you're in the presence of a milestone release, sounding better than any edition I have ever heard. The transients of Howe's guitar leads are eye-wateringly quick, Chris Squire's bass deep and rich, the detail simply captivating. Wakeman's keyboard playing sounds majestic, Anderson's usually irritating, whiny vocals are rendered tolerable, and Bruford's percussion suitably massive. This is one gem you will hear at hi-fi shows! KK


The Beatles
France 1965
London Calling LCLPC5026 (180g green vinyl; mono)

Reviewing this is a public service, a caveat: it's a curate's egg, but not to be dismissed because of its failings. This live set contains 12 songs from The Beatles at their peak, previously found only on bootlegs. I gather that, due to copyright law related to radio broadcasts, such recordings are legitimate in the EU. The sound is so-so mono, and there are incidents of severe tape wow, but the good bits are revealing and enthralling, and the packaging is excellent. This is strictly for rock historians and Beatles collectors of an utterly indiscriminating, completist mien. 'I Feel Fine', 'Ticket To Ride', 'A Hard Day's Night' – magical despite the sound quality. KK


Dire Straits
Mobile Fidelity MFSL 2-467 (two 45rpm 180g LPs)

This much-loved (by audiophiles) 'difficult second album', swiftly delivered in 1979, has survived the past 40 years as a safe, 'more of the same' experience, a sequel to their debut in every way. It's more confident and polished, but not a great departure from its predecessor, and that's a goodly portion of its strength. Dire Straits are a default 'hi-fi' band, like Toto or Steely Dan, where the listener knows what to expect (that the sound quality will match the music) and you can only scorn such groups if you're a snob. As before, Mark Knopfler is the star, so, for all of its slick production, this is a guitar showcase – and for millions of us, that's enough. KK


Tina Turner
Simply The Best
Parlophone 0190295378134 (two LPs)

Wonderful double-LP reissue (the review copy is on blue vinyl but Amazon shows black), this 18-track collection was first released in 1991, earning multiple platinum sales globally. Here's why it spent two years on the UK charts: 'What's Love Got To Do With It', 'Let's Stay Together', 'We Don't Need Another Hero' (from the film Mad Max Beyond The Thunderdome), 'River Deep, Mountain High', 'Private Dancer', the epic title track and so much more. The transfers are terrific, sounding open, rich and forceful, with Tina's intensity and power at their peak. Released in the wake of the stage play, Tina, it reminds us why many regard her as the 'Queen of Rock'. KK