Audiophile: Vinyl, February 2021

hfnalbum.pngCharles Mingus
Ah Um
Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-010 (two One-Step 45rpm LPs)

I know, I know – this is getting predictable, but I'm gonna be blunt: the audible supremacy of this release, like every other One-Step, is so immediately apparent that you'll want it even if jazz isn't your forte. This is, of course, one of the most beloved jazz albums of all time, a sonic treasure even in normal CD form, but this edition opens up the sound much further. Of course, the lower registers define the music, Mingus playing bass throughout, but every instrument shines, especially the saxes. My favourite track, 'Fables Of Faubus', which slithers like it should be a film noir soundtrack, has even more resonance in the current political climate, but that's just one reason why this 1959 release is a must-have. KK


Creedence Clearwater Revival
Cosmo's Factory
Fantasy 00888072048645 (180g vinyl)

Marking its 50th anniversary, the sticker announcing mastering at Abbey Road Studios, this isn't the first time CCR's fifth – and probably greatest – has been reissued. I can think of at least two other audiophile pressings, but I'm sticking my neck out to say this may be the best yet. Although it reached No 1 here, CCR remains oddly underappreciated in the UK. That said, when an LP's 11 tracks are all astounding, including 'Travelin' Band', 'Lookin' Out My Back Door', 'Run Through The Jungle', 'Up Around The Bend', 'Who'll Stop The Rain', 'Long As I Can See The Light' and an 11-minute 'I Heard It Through The Grapevine', you're up there in Beatles territory. KK


Lou Reed
New York
Sire/Rhino R2 628762 (two LPs + three CDs + DVD)

Aside from Metal Machine Music (and even that has lunatics who love it), each Lou Reed album has its disciples, but this homage to his hometown is extra-special. Here is Lou at his lyrical best, portraying the greatest city on the planet in an alternative vision to the works of Gershwin and Woody Allen. This deluxe set, issued just past its 30th anniversary, contains the remastered album on two LPs, again on CD, a CD of demos and alternate mixes, a third CD of live versions from the 1989 tour, and a DVD of a gig in Canada from the same tour, plus a high-res version of the album. The LPs, though cut from digital masters, still better the CD, and match the DVD. KK


Margriet Sjoerdsma
A Tribute To Eva Cassidy
STS 6111197 (45rpm LP)

What, you might ask, is the point of this – or any tribute LPs – when you can listen to the originals? If that crossed your mind, then this is not for you. But if you want to hear Cassidy's finest numbers reinterpreted with obvious love and affection, and with the sound quality offered by all-analogue recording, direct-metal mastering and 45rpm playback (yes, they managed to fit four tracks per side), with the co-operation of no less than Thorens, you'll love this. Sjoerdsma's voice is gorgeous, like Sophie Madeleine's, and all the Cassidy favourites – 'Fields Of Gold', 'Time After Time' and the rest – are here. Too bad Eva was never recorded this superbly. KK