Audiophile: Vinyl, April 2024

hfnalbum.pngBen Harper With Charlie Musselwhite
Get Up!
Craft Recordings/Stax 00888072523227 (180g vinyl)

This first of two duets recalls the era of harmonica deity Musselwhite's 1967 debut, when young blues revivalists often paired with their heroes. Now it's Musselwhite – he turned 80 in January – who's the éminence grise to Harper, whose first blues/soul/rock album hit in 1994. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of this 2013 Grammy winner, it's delicious solace if you're still mourning B.B. King, but it's also quietly radical. Naturally, harmonica is the key to the sound, but Harper adds a feel that honours the logo in the upper right-hand corner: this couldn't be more Stax-y if you roused the ghost of Otis. Musselwhite supplies gravitas, Harper the attitude, these old friends producing a classic. KK


If I Could Do It All Over Again I'd Do It All Over You
Decca UMCLP061 (180g vinyl)

Exemplars of the 'Canterbury Scene', that hot-bed of prog-rock, Caravan released a 37CD box set in 2021 (I kid you not) but the vinyl reissues might be more accessible for fans on pensions. This is their second LP, released in 1970 from the time when album titles were indicative of some of the tracks' playing times, and melodically it's as delightfully eccentric and engaging as the band's lyrical wordplay requires. The musicianship is exemplary, with enough jazz content to disarm snobs – and I am not saying that just because I used to serve burgers to the band in my waiter days. Also reissued is Cunning Stunts [Decca UMC LP062] from 1975, with more to follow. KK


Fleetwood Mac
Rumours Live 8/29/77
Warner Records R1 567113 (two LPs)

By this time in rock history, live LPs sounded so good and the gigs were so close to note-perfect replications of studio releases, it begged the question: why bother? In this case, it's to experience a concert rather than the recent trend of playing albums in their entirety and in order. The 18 cuts here mix songs from Rumours and the previous, eponymous smash hit album of 1975, with three tracks missing from the former and four left out from Fleetwood Mac. Those who recall the band before it went Left Coast will appreciate a stunning version of 'Oh Well' from the Peter Green era. And for those of you who hate what it caused, 'Don't Stop' isn't in the set. KK


Jackie Deshannon
The Sherry Lee Show
Sundazed LP5639 (two LPs; mono)

This will be anathema to some – it's low-fi Country & Western – but if you appreciate DeShannon's contribution to popular music, it's a priceless history lesson. A prodigy in country circles before she toured with The Beatles, giving us 'Put A Little Love In Your Heart', or The Searchers covered 'When You Walk In The Room', DeShannon was only 15 when she performed this material around 1955/6. Defined in the subtitle as, 'Jackie's Early Radio Performances As Sherry Lee', they evoke pre-fame Buddy Holly recordings. But what's so remarkable, aside from her precocious talent, is the sound – her mom recorded these off radio and I'd love to know what deck she owned. KK