Audiophile: Vinyl, July 2021

hfnalbum.pngDelaney & Bonnie & Friends With Eric Clapton
On Tour
Speakers Corner/ATCO SD33-326 (180g vinyl)

It baffles me that this outfit should be relegated to footnote status rather than being celebrated for being influential. This 1970 release includes classics like 'Only You Know And I Know', while their entire output deserves recognition for its role in the birth of the roots music genre. Their friends signify the couple's power: in addition to working with Duane and Gregg Allman, George Harrison, Leon Russell and King Curtis, the pals on this album included Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason and Rita Coolidge, while Eric Clapton earns cover mention. Despite the British buddies, this reissue is pure Americana, mixing southern rock, gospel and early rock 'n' roll. KK


Slim Harpo
Baby Scratch My Back
Sundazed/Excello/Americana Anthropology LP-ANTHRO-104 (mono)

Blues singer Harpo, though less well-known than Muddy Waters or BB King, influenced a vast number of musicians, including many in the early 1960s British Invasion – especially The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, Them and The Yardbirds. This 1966 release follows his rediscovery during the Blues Revival (post-Mayall, Korner, etc) – one presumes those groups heard of him via his numerous singles or appearances on compilations. Cut by Kevin Gray, pressed at RTI, this LP is a knock-out in its original mono, filled with harmonica-driven, swampy, sexy, sinister blues including 'Rainin' In My Heart', 'Shake Your Hips' and the wicked title track. Aficionados will rejoice. KK


Ed Kelly & Friend
Ed Kelly & Friend
Pure Pleasure/Theresa Records TR106

Unlike Delaney & Bonnie, (see above) who could name their friends on their album covers, jazz pianist Ed Kelly couldn't cite his on this 1978 release because it was saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, who was then under contract to another label. Though clues in the photo tell any jazz buff who the anonymous player was, it has since been reissued on CD as Ed Kelly & Pharoah Sanders, with bonus tracks. This is sleeved as the original, with the LP's seven cuts. It's a gorgeous set, characteristic of the crossover (read: 'easy on the ears') jazz of the period, in the vein of David Sanborn, George Benson, etc. High point is a lush version of Sam Cooke's 'You Send Me'. KK


Julian Taylor Band
Desert Star
Aporia Records APO-074-LP (two discs)

While billed as neo-soul, this Canadian's music is so eclectic as to be unclassifiable. Instead, it recalls Lenny Kravitz, Prince and others who ignore arbitrary constraints. This 2016 set – which I admit escaped me before – is being re-promoted because it's yielded a single, and is worth a listen if you like a mélange of influences. It's a 21st century take on the musical diversity of the late 1960s rock scene, and those with varied tastes can have fun identifying which musicians inspired Taylor. Aside from his penchant for recycling titles – 'Set Me Free', 'Fever', 'In My Life', etc, aren't the songs you'd expect – it's an engaging set. Also on CD [Aporia APO-074-CD]. KK