Audiophile: Vinyl (October 2018)

hfnalbum.pngMichael Nesmith
Magnetic South/Loose Salute/Nevada Fighter
Sundazed LP5512-514 (three LPs, coloured vinyl)

Like Gene Clark, Nesmith is another refugee from a famous band who became a pioneer country rocker. This trilogy from 1970-1 forms a magnificent whole, Nesmith breaking away from the constraints of The Monkees (whereas Clark continued in the same vein as his former band). These LPs are stellar on every level: musicians of the highest order, including pedal steel maven Red Rhodes and pianist Glen D Hardin, and songs that deserve hit status: 'Joanne', 'Listen To The Band' and 'Silver Moon'. Even the few covers are inspired, among them Nilsson's 'Rainmaker', Clapton's 'I Looked Away' and Patsy Cline's 'I Fall To Pieces'. So don't miss these this time around – OK? KK


John Butler
The Loyal Serpent
Palo Santo Records PSTX-012LP (two 180g LPs)

Gorgeous gatefold double-vinyl reissue, with extra tracks, of the Diesel Park West frontman's 1997 solo debut (their exquisite cover of 'Hung Upside Down' on a Buffalo Springfield tribute showed the band's true mettle) and it's a lost gem. Butler, and for that matter, DPW, enjoys qualities with genres that aren't necessarily ones with which he's associated, such as alt country and the Paisley Underground (despite being British rather than American). The material is rich with jangly guitars and possesses a homage-to-the-1960s that recalls The Long Ryders and even Marshall Crenshaw. In other words, magnificently-crafted rock that deserved better 20 years ago. KK


Carmen McRae
Sings Lover Man and Other Billie Holiday Classics
Pure Pleasure/Columbia CS8530 (180g vinyl)

Released in 1962, and produced by the great Teo Macero, this masterpiece was McRae's tribute to Holiday, her idol and major influence. McRae – a stylist many authorities consider shamefully underrated – chose 12 perfect numbers for paying homage to Lady Day, including a sublime 'Strange Fruit', a salaciously sexy 'Miss Brown To You' and ending this with a reverent and heart-felt 'God Bless The Child'. It's about as poignant as a tribute can be, McRae's regular trio augmented by guests including Nat Adderly and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis. Sonically, this is classic Columbia of the era, with vocal textures, power and detail to make you swoon. KK


Nina Simone
Little Girl Blue
Acoustic Sounds APJ083-45 (two 200g 45rpm LPs)

MoFi's One-Step aside, 200g vinyl at 45rpm appears to be the ultimate in audiophile formats. On the strength of this edition – which I've heard countless times on standard pressings – one could easily be converted to 45rpm, despite the cost. Even as a regular LP, Simone's 1957 debut is a milestone among jazz vocal albums. Her 'Porgy' would have brought tears to the Gershwins' eyes, while 'My Baby Just Cares For Me' is one of the genre's most celebrated titles. Backed by bass and drums, her piano is as big a star as her voice, while 'You'll Never Walk Alone' will cause you to shudder at the thought of the Liverpool supporters massacring it. KK