Audiophile: Vinyl, July 2020

hfnalbum.pngThe Band
The Band (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition)
Capitol 00602577842832 (two 45rpm LPs + two CDs + Blu-ray + 7in single)

My go-to LP for visceral bottom-end impact, peerless musicianship and transcendent material has been 'audiophiled' so often, it may have beaten The Allman Brothers' At Fillmore East. Somehow Capitol managed to squeeze out a bit more, for an ultra-vivid 'Rag Mama Rag', 'Up On Cripple Creek' and their other classics – but not enough to justify purchase should you own the stunning MoFi LP. That said, this set is gorgeous. Bettering the extras in the Music From Big Pink box, the vinyl is joined by a CD version with six bonus tracks, a CD of the band's Woodstock performance, a 7in single and a Blu-ray with the album and bonus tracks in stereo and 5.1 surround, plus a documentary. Bliss! KK


Quentin Collins All-Star Quintet
A Day In The Life
Chasing The Dragon VALC013 (direct-cut LP)

Talk about a throwback! This vinyl release is pure 'circa-1979 Audiophilia' and the content, as well as the sound quality, adheres to the formula that fuelled a dozen labels way back when, like Sheffield Lab, M&K RealTime and too many others to list. I will reserve comment on the merit of the jazz quintet's material, as jazz aficionados are tetchy listeners at the best of times and Quentin Collins – not to be confused with the vampire in ABC's Dark Shadows – is a fine trumpeter who's listened to a lot of Miles. But that's by-the-bye: this will be purchased for its genuinely glorious sound, as will be the inevitable digital and open-reel editions. KK


The Grateful Dead
Blues For Allah
Mobile Fidelity MFSL2-483 (two 45rpm LPs)

As the Dead were so prolific, to put this into context, note that this 1975 issue was their eighth studio album and the third on their own label, recorded during a lull in the band's heavy touring schedule. And it's a mixed bag, indeed, in which moments of early Dead tropes, blues snatches and whiffs of country mix with Middle Eastern and jazz influences. This, of course, matters not to Deadheads, who would rave about Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music if you said Jerry Garcia was on it. While I admit to a soft spot for some of this, the real concern is the sound, because the Dead are, like Queen, Dylan, Bowie, etc, beyond criticism. And the sound is terrific. KK


The Rockin' Ramrods
The Rockin' Ramrods
Beat Rocket/Modern Harmonic BR151 (coloured vinyl)

Along with The Lost and a bunch of others, The Ramrods were one of the first of the Boston bands – and I admit to bias, having seen them numerous times over 50 years ago. Nuggets-grade proto-punk as good as any you'll find, it's a snapshot of the times. As far back as '64, they covered Lennon/McCartney's, 'I Wanna Be Your Man' and the obscure 'I'll Be On My Way' (a Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas B-side), plus two Dave Clark 5 album tracks, attesting to the following that band had in Beantown. Their original material stands up well, and this LP's 16 tracks give a fair representation of the top regional talent in the USA when the British Invasion was in full swing. KK