Audiophile: Vinyl, February 2020

hfnalbum.pngThe J Geils Band
The Morning After
Mobile Fidelity MFSL1-415 (180g vinyl)

Aside from the atypical hit single, 'Centerfold', the UK never 'got' Boston's J Geils Band. But then this wasn't a singles band. They arrived at the tail end of the 1960s playing down 'n' dirty R&B, paving the way for The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Dr Feelgood and others, and they had a secret weapon in Magic Dick, arguably the best harp player ever. This 1971 LP, their second, didn't quite match the eponymous 1970 debut, but it still blows away anything else in the genre. Each musician was peerless, and lead singer Peter Wolf had stage presence of Jagger-esque proportions. A staggering mix of originals and soul/funk classics, the sound is magnificent and its bottom octaves will scare you. KK


Jeff Beck
Live At The Fillmore West, San Francisco 1968
London Calling LCLPC5037 (180g white vinyl)

Out of copyright in certain territories usually means inferior stuff that should never see the light of day, but this is magnificent. The fabled lineup of Beck, Rod Stewart, Ron Wood and Mickey Waller performing tracks from Truth days before it was released, along with Beck faves including 'Jeff's Boogie' and 'Blues Deluxe'. What is so shocking about this LP, taken from a live FM broadcast, is the sublime sound, considering its origins: properly wide stereo with precise placement, rich lower registers, crystal clear vocals. As one who considers Truth to be among the top 50 LPs ever, this is an unalloyed treat. Buy now as it's a 1000-only limited edition LP. KK


Eleanor Mcevoy
Forgotten Dreams
Chasing The Dragon VALDC006 (Direct cut LP)

In November 2018, I reviewed the CD of this and it deservedly earned release of the month. This direct-to-vinyl album is even better, flowing as it does without the gaps and sounding that much closer to the open-reel tape. (No, I am not going to lobby PM to add a page for pre-recorded tapes!) It delivers a more vivid sense of McEvoy negotiating the studio as she goes from instrument to instrument, and it is so real-sounding that – had the Geils Band LP not come out this month – it must tie with it. If the CD didn't interest you, and you don't have a reel-to-reel deck nor time for cassettes, this is the closest you'll get to McEvoy performing in your home. KK


KT Tunstall
Acoustic Extravaganza
UMC Virgin 7768710 (coloured vinyl)

First vinyl release for Tunstall's second album, from 2006, and it's an absolute treasure. Though it didn't rattle cages like her debut, and its follow-up garnered better reviews, this was a delightfully intimate set with plenty of acoustic material to warrant the title and to entice audiophiles. Among the semi-unplugged and wholly electricity-free tracks are gems that also appeared as B-sides, while a critical standout is her cover of Beck's 'Golden Age'. Tunstall is that rare contemporary performer, one who exudes undeniable authenticity and eschews hype, and she's currently undergoing a career renaissance, so this is a beautifully-packaged, welcomed refresher. KK