Audiophile: Vinyl, November 2023

hfnalbum.pngTito Puente And His Latin Ensemble
Mambo Diablo
Craft Recordings/Concord Jazz Picante CR00643 (180g vinyl)

Marking Puente's centenary, this magnificent reissue from 1985 is a particular delight if you're partial to Latin rhythms and the sound of vibes and timbales. It is not, however, a purist, 'world music' torture-fest but a cool, almost loungecore experience, enhanced by no less than George Shearing on piano on 'Lullaby Of Birdland'. Puente, of course, did as much as anyone – with nods to pioneers Cugat, Arnaz, Prado, et al – to spread the joys of Latin music beyond Spanish, Mexican, Cuban and other inherently Hispanic audiences. The fun here is that only two of the tracks are Tito's compositions and one other a bolero, the rest being his renderings of 'Take Five', 'Lush Life' and other standards. KK


Elvis Presley
From Elvis In Memphis
Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-017 (One-Step 2x45rpm LPs)

It's hard to believe that this 1969 album was, depending on how you count them, only Elvis's tenth studio LP, but then he did fill the years with lame soundtracks, so this came as a relief. It's a killer album as he's backed by legendary musicians associated with the Memphis studio scene, and the producer was that genius, Chips Moman. Fans rate this not just as a return to form, but for classics such as 'In The Ghetto' and covers of 'Gentle On My Mind' and 'It Keeps Tight On A-Hurtin''. While this lacks the extra tracks of the various loaded-to-the-edges CDs – MoFi's One-Steps tend to stick to the original track listings – it does add 'Suspicious Minds' as a bonus cut. KK


The No Ones
My Best Evil Friend
Yep Roc YEP-3048 (two LPs; coloured vinyl)

A timely arrival for Peter (REM) Buck's occasional outing with members of Minus 5, Young Fresh Fellows, et al. It sounds like an addenda to the legendary Nuggets garage rock anthology, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary on tour. Though recorded in 2022, this sounds like 1966-7, all jangly guitars and psychedelic swirls, the sleeve telling you the LP honours inspirations such as Nick Lowe, George Harrison, Phil Ochs and others. Vickie Peterson guests on vocals; like fellow Bangle Susanna Hoffs with Matthew Sweet, she's paying homage to the Paisley Underground's mentors. If anything, the sound quality is too good! (The CD has same catalogue number.) KK


Nina Simone
Nina Simone Sings The Blues
Speakers Corner/RCA LSP-3789 (180g vinyl)

So fine are all of Nina's albums, and so respected is RCA of the 1950-60s that the sonic superiority of this 1967 release is a given. What made it stand out is the genre, even though a blues feel informed most of her music. She remains, however, firmly in the jazz milieu, so this is sleek, uptown blues that eschews the rawness of, say, Muddy Waters or Koko Taylor. Indeed, purists could call the title a misnomer, but A-listers including the astounding Eric Gale on guitar and Bernard Purdie on drums crank up enough bluesiness to avoid the total lack of it in, say, that corny, misleadingly-named standard 'The Birth Of The Blues' – which thankfully is not here. KK