Audiophile: Vinyl, January 2021

hfnalbum.pngT Rex
Electric Warrior
Mobile Fidelity MFSL2-490 (two 45rpm LPs)

Someone with a long memory will tell me if this is the first time an album earned both HFN's 'Digital Release of the Month' and 'LP of the Month', as I couldn't resist giving the SACD of this the top score in Sept '20. The same now goes for the vinyl version which is somehow even better across the board, but especially for treble snap, bass richness and a sense of space. To reiterate, this 1971 release is one of the glam legend's finest efforts, boasting two of his biggest hits – 'Jeepster' and 'Bang A Gong (Get It On)' – and I can assure you that you've never heard them sound this visceral nor as uncontrollably infectious. Gorgeous details, like Flo & Eddie's backing vocals, make forensic listening forgivable. KK


Fleetwood Mac
Reprise R1 596007/603497851294 (four discs + 7in single)

It's easy to forget that the soft-rock, California-infused incarnation of what once was a blues band didn't begin with 1975's multi-platinum, eponymous release, which gave us Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. This box set comprises Penguin, Mystery To Me and Heroes Are Hard To Find, plus a bonus live album and a 45rpm single, and it shows, retrospectively, that all the hit-making polish was there before that star-crossed pair joined the mix. The sound is exceptional, and (with hindsight) the lack of appreciation palpable. (The 8CD box, 1969-1974, adds the earlier Then Play On, Future Games and Bare Trees, plus loads of bonus tracks.) KK


Original Soundtrack
Girl In Gold Boots
Modern Harmonic MH-8212 (mono; gold vinyl LP + DVD)

Sometimes I wonder if Modern Harmonic is testing punters to see just what they will swallow. This is its weirdest release so far, the soundtrack to a 1968 film which IMDB generously describes as 'A young woman leaves her job as a waitress and travels to Los Angeles, where she strives to become the top star in the glamorous world of go-go dancing'. The music is all over the place, from country pop to schmaltz, with a desperate air of trying to be psychedelic, and there's no sense of 'go-go dancing' whatsoever. Sound is glorious mono but the appeal is strictly for truly hard-core cineastes who prefer Corman to Kurosawa. I can't bring myself to watch the DVD. KK


Leon Thomas
Spirits Known And Unknown
Flying Dutchman (via Pure Pleasure) FDS-115 (180g vinyl)

A pleasant surprise for those who knew Thomas chiefly as a blues singer, as this, his solo debut from 1969, is straight-ahead jazz. Eclectic in the extreme, this preceded the much-loved 1988 blues LP, followed his time with legendary saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, and pre-dated work with Santana. It's hard to believe that this album was recorded over 50 years ago, despite the anti-Vietnam war lyrics, for its attitude perfectly suits the current political climate. Musicians on board include Sanders and Lonnie Liston Smith, so it still sounds

'avant-garde'. Thomas's odd yodel makes you jump the first time you hear it, but this fine-sounding LP is deliciously accessible. KK