Audiophile: Vinyl, October 2019

hfnalbum.pngVarious Artists
The Wonderful Sounds Of Female Vocals
Analogue Productions APP122 (two discs)

At first, you might think this is simply a compilation promoting Analogue Productions' catalogue, which it does. But they packed it with 22 exalted distaff classics such as Patsy Cline's original 'Crazy', Julie London's 'Cry Me A River' and others of that calibre – no fillers. AP's artists also include Joan Baez, Shelby Lynne, Phoebe Snow, Rickie Lee Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Bryan, Jennifer Warnes, Diana Krall, Janis Ian, Joan Armatrading, Judy Collins and Holly Cole, so this really is A-list stuff. Best of all? You get two of the greatest performances ever: Dusty Springfield's 'Son Of A Preacher Man' and, yes, 'The Look Of Love'. This isn't just a taster for AP: it's a phenomenal package by any standards. KK


The Rolling Stones
Polydor 773-188-2 (three discs; 3CDs: Polydor 773-188-0)

This triple LP is a 'best of' that covers 1971-2016, and the embarrassing aspect is that the tracks mainly come from the first half of that span because, frankly, the last few decades haven't yielded much worth repeated hearing. Honk's 36 tracks, however, include at least a dozen of their finest-ever releases, eg, 'Brown Sugar', 'Start Me Up', 'Tumbling Dice', 'Wild Horses', 'Beast Of Burden,' 'It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like It)' and others of that level, so the more recent stuff – which lesser band's would kill to be able to match – can be tolerated. But, hey, we're talking about The Stones, so any criticism is absurd. (The CDs come with a bonus live disc.) KK


Trio Palabras
Lo Que Dice Mi Cantar
Muxia Music MUX1010-VLP (200g LP)

As I am no expert on Cuban music, I can only discuss this in sonic terms… and it is breathtakingly beautiful, delicate and natural-sounding. The Trio Palabras consists of two vocalists and a classical guitarist, abetted by a host of other guitarists, plus acoustic bass and bongos, performed by some of Cuba's finest players. The genre they're honouring here is called 'Trova', a century-old native music-form of itinerant troubadours, and it was recorded in single takes, uncompromisingly to the standards of audiophile LPs of the past. And even if you don't know a single word of any Hispanic-based languages, this will transport you. Enthralling. KK


Ingram Washington
Sweet 'n' Low
STS 6111128

As the small print says, this is the 'vinyl version' of an STS reel-to-reel tape, but we don't review open-reels, so – for most of you – this will be the more suitable format to consider. Its title is a perfect description of Washington's oeuvre, for he's a crooner in the style of Eckstine, Rawls, Benton and Bland, men with voices so rich and resonant that they exercise your woofers as much as the midband. Showing impeccable taste, the ten standards here including compositions from Gershwin, Mercer, Berlin, et al, so, yes, it is another stab at the Great American Songbook. As the sound is sublime, I think you can handle another version of 'Embraceable You'. KK