Audiophile: Vinyl, March 2024

hfnalbum.pngDr. John
Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack
Sundazed LP5658 2LPs (180g vinyl)

As far as audiophile provenance goes, few can match this release: it was engineered by the late, sorely-missed Dean Roumanis, a true 'golden ears' who worked for Mark Levinson and later Krell. The tracks were recorded on Levinson equipment, including a modified Studer deck, and the resultant sound was that of one of the most realistic, vivid piano sessions ever committed to disc, with Dr. John's raspy vocals matching the veracity. Naturally, it's predominantly New Orleans funk, but there are some surprises, too. This remastered edition adds an entire LP of bonus material, thus its worth has increased exponentially. I'm a long-term Dr. John fan, and this has a place in my 'Audiophile Top 30'. KK


Art Farmer
Portrait Of Art Farmer
Craft Recordings CR00605 (180g vinyl)

Cut by Bernie Grundman from the original master tapes, this pressing arrived a tad too late to feature in this month's round-up of new audiophile LPs [p24], but it's precisely the kind of jazz treasure that makes you question what's happened sonically in the past 65 years. Backed by Hank Jones (piano), Addison Farmer (bass) and Roy Haynes (drums), Farmer's the focus but he lets the others cut loose. This LP from 1958 was transitional for Farmer, with a label change and moves between groups, but as a vehicle for his smooth, tasteful style, it's hard to top. Cue up 'The Very Thought Of You' and try not to hear Albert King's blues interpretation from a decade later. KK


Can't Touch Us Now
Union Square Music/BMG SALVOLP18 (two LPs, half-speed mastered)

Like Whitesnake, Madness has overhauled its entire catalogue, even though this was only released in 2016. Remastered and enriched with liner notes containing fresh interviews, the track listing is identical to the original so you will not need this if you own the earlier issue. As with all Madness titles, it's an effort in the tradition of Blur, Squeeze and most notably The Kinks in oozing a now-disappearing Englishness, or should that be London-ness, so you know what to expect. Also available, should you still have need of any more Madness, is an expanded version of 2012's Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da [Union Square Music/BMG SALVOLP17] with seven bonus tracks. KK


The Purple Album
Rhino RCVV1 725527 (two LPs, purple vinyl)

Is there another case of a lead singer having his current group cover an entire album's worth of songs by his previous outfit? I love the idea of this LP, a 2015 release consisting wholly of remakes of songs from Deep Purple Marks III and IV (1973-1976), when Whitesnake's David Coverdale was in that band. Fans of both groups will have hours of fun comparing the DP originals vs these readings, all exemplars of bombastic, stadium-ready hard rock, newly remixed and remastered in the on-going refurbishment of the Whitesnake canon. Also available is a blue vinyl, expanded, remixed 2LP version of 2008's Good To Be Bad, as Still Good To Be Bad [Rhino RCV1 695446]. KK