Audiophile: Vinyl, February 2024

hfnalbum.pngThe Doors
Live At The Matrix
Rhino R1 698484 (five LPs + 7in single)

Our Christmas box set round-up [HFN Jan '24] included the 3CD version of this essential rock artefact, but the LP alternative moves the jazz instrumental 'Bag's Groove' to a 7in single – reason enough to buy this for some. But we're about sound here, and the vinyl has a warmer, more intimate feel, better to evoke a club atmosphere. With every known track and remastered by Bruce Botnick from the original 7in tapes, this replaces all previous releases of the legendary March 1967 gigs. Even if you're a Doors completist, you'll need this: many of the upgraded tracks make their debut here, including eight not featured on any previous Matrix releases. Allowing for the semi-pro source tapes, this is a sonic miracle. KK


The Connells
Craft Recordings 00888072419773 180g vinyl

If the Connells only released one song – ''74-'75' – they'd still merit a place in the rock pantheon. That elegiac masterpiece is one of the most gorgeous ballads ever, up there melodically with The La's 'There She Goes' and spiritually with The Beatles' 'In My Life'. Their fifth album's 30th anniversary earns a vinyl debut, resulting in even greater intimacy and insight into a Southern USA band's skills at creating 'soft pop' gems. There's arguably a geographical feel to other indie bands from the area – think REM, not Lynyrd Skynyrd – so this remains a perfect antidote to a cacophonous modern world. Also on 2CD with even more tracks [Craft 00888072419766]. KK


John Fogerty
Blue Ridge Rangers/John Fogerty
BMG 538666041/538666011 180g vinyl

So distinctive and unique are John Fogerty's vocals that his solo albums could be mistaken for Creedence Clearwater Revival LPs. These immaculate 50th Anniversary reissues of his first two solos confirm, too, that it's one of the greatest voices in the history of rock. His debut album, Blue Ridge Rangers, consists entirely of covers of country and western classics, but all swiftly become his property. The eponymous second album includes three covers plus seven originals, among them 'Almost Saturday Night' and something many of you will love: 'Rocking All Over The World', co-opted by Status Quo as one of their biggest hits and an anthem for the genre. KK


The Yellow Balloon
The Yellow Balloon
Sundazed LP5654 (yellow vinyl)

While not as famous as the most successful practitioners of 1960s 'sunshine pop', eg, Harpers Bizarre or The Cyrkle, Yellow Balloon had one eponymous hit, while the rest of their lone LP sparkles like the best of Sagittarius or any of the genre's other notables. Twenty-five years after Sundazed's release of a comprehensive Yellow Balloon CD, here's the same again on – aptly – yellow vinyl, and it sounds simply terrific. For Trivial Pursuit players, the presence of Don Grady, once a star on American TV, adds to the mystery, while deep digging will uncover a link to the Keanu Reeves comedy, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. A fun way to brighten up dark winter evenings. KK