Audiophile: Vinyl, April 2023

hfnalbum.pngThe Kinks
Muswell Hillbillies/Everybody's In Show-Biz – Everybody's A Star
BMG BMGCAT720DBOX (six LPs + four CDs + Blu-ray)

Although vying with The Beatles for 'Who makes the costliest box sets?', The Kinks have done us a service by combining two RCA-era LPs into one package, but circa-£150 still requires sacrifice. This pair has long been overshadowed by The Village Green Preservation Society, and are surely worth reassessing. As is now the norm, the set contains completely remastered original releases and a vast amount of extras. Show Biz was a double to begin with, half-live/half-studio, so this expands on the concert material, while a baffling assortment of LP-only and CD-only editions allows you to pick and choose to suit your budget. KK


Leonard Cohen
Hallelujah & Songs From His Albums
Legacy/Columbia 19439985551 (two LPs; one CD)

This collection, 'Inspired by the new film: Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song', starts with a previously unreleased track causing completists to buy it, despite its 17 tracks representing 13 of his 15 albums: his now-most-revered composition, 'Hallelujah' recorded live at Glastonbury in 2008. As I am not an expert nor devotee of Cohen, I'm not inclined to call this a 'best of' – what constitutes the best of any artist is always contentious. That said, 'Suzanne', 'Bird On A Wire', 'Famous Blue Raincoat', 'Chelsea Hotel' and other obvious contenders are here, so this does act as a magnificent introduction to the man. It's also on CD [Legacy 19439985552]. KK


The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet
Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation
Speakers Corner/Atlantic 1364

This is difficult to approach if you're not predisposed toward the genre. Recorded in 1960, it featured Coleman heading the 'double quartet' of Eric Dolphy, Don Cherry, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Scott LoFaro, Billy Higgins and Ed Blackwell, instructed to live up to the title. The resultant free-form, often cacophonous 37m session divided the critics in the day, but that matters not; further commentary is futile. Instead, dealing solely with its sound, this remains an exercise in reproducing space, an early stereo showcase that forces you to focus on each musician. It is challenging and intoxicating. KK


Various Artists
Potato Chip: Crunchy Dunwich Garage
Beat Rocket BR 176 (two coloured vinyl LPs; mono/stereo)

For fans of the legendary Nuggets 1960s 'garage rock' compilation, The Shadows of Knight, or, indeed, any of that era's punk bands (original US meaning, not the '70s UK co-opting of the term), mention of Chicago's Dunwich label will make one's pulse race. Chicago's scene was as vibrant as Detroit's or Boston's, though yielding fewer successes, while this set's 36 tracks, from the above-cited Shads, The Knaves, The Luv'd Ones, The Banshees and nine more, obviate a need to seek out rare, costly 45s. Various flavours of rock and blues, girl groups, homages to the British Invasion – it's all here. Trust me: it's essential if the opening lines apply to you. KK