Audiophile: Vinyl, July 2023

hfnalbum.pngElectric Light Orchestra
Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-015 (two LPs, Ultradisc One-Step)

In Oct '22, I ranked this 90% in its single LP, Supervinyl form, even though a One-Step edition had been announced. I've played them side-by-side, not sure what to expect from what I'd anticipated to be a better version of the band's 1974 concept LP. Its label says that there was a DSD256 stage in between this and the 15ips production master, and while the single LP surely must have come from the same source, I am surmising that the only difference is the 2x45rpm One Step production. What does it add for the extra dosh? Two readily discernible gains: fuller, more vigorous bottom octaves and a much greater sense of scale. Is it worth the premium tariff? Yup: dig deep. It's that good. KK


Ian Anderson
Plays The Orchestral Jethro Tull
Parlophone 0190296 688270 (two LPs)

Recorded in 2004 and issued on CD/DVD in 2005, now available on LP, this is a live Jethro Tull album in all but name. How so? Consider this: Anderson's voice and flute define the band's sound, a group which has seen over 20 musicians in its ranks with Anderson the sole remaining original member. Agree or not, it's a fine entry in a genre which has seen orchestral treatment of many artists' works, eg, Abba, The Beach Boys, etc. Anderson is backed by the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt, conducted by John O'Hara, at the Rosengarten in Mannheim. The sound is superb, and fans will enjoy the majesty added to 'Aqualung', 'Bourée', 'Locomotive Breath', 'My God', et al. KK


Chick Corea
The Montreux Years

Opening the unissued archives of Montreux Jazz Festival's late founder Claude Nobs must rank as one of the greatest gifts music lovers have received this century. We've already been treated to a mix of blues, funk, soul and – yes – jazz titles, with no end in sight. This stunning release collects nine of pianist Corea's finest moments from six shows between 1981-2010, though not programmed chronologically. As he played there 23 times, narrowing it down must have been torture, but there's not a moment that disappoints, starting with his 2001 performance of 'Fingerprints' from his Grammy Award-winning album Trilogy. Also on CD [BMGCAT583CD]. KK


Dillard & Clark
The Fantastic Expedition Of Dillard & Clark
Intervention IR-031 (180g vinyl)

We reviewed the SACD in January, rating it 85% – not bad for a country rock LP from 1968. To repeat, it's a neglected masterpiece and a milestone of the genre, but – ironically – it's been re-released at least five times on vinyl: remarkable considering its obscurity. Tasteful reissue labels Edsel and Sundazed have been here before, but Intervention has gone for heavy vinyl, a thicker sleeve, and mastering by Kevin Grey, making this the best-sounding copy yet. Sorry to keep banging on about it, but you must buy this if you ever loved The Byrds, The Burritos, Poco, The Eagles, or deep bluegrass music. Gene Clark and Doug Dillard? A match made, now in heaven. KK