Audiophile: Vinyl, October 2022

hfnalbum.pngMose Allison
I Don't Worry About A Thing
Modern Harmonic/Atlantic MH-8256 (mono; coloured vinyl)

This disarming LP raises too many questions about vinyl, not least being how can a mono, regular-thickness vinyl pressing sound so good? Moreover, Modern Harmonic doesn't considered itself audiophilic, so much as a killer reissue label, hi-fi enthusiasts not being their main audience. Maybe that's why they opted for mono despite Atlantic, by 1962, having stereo to die for (see the Ornette Coleman review on this page). Like many Allison fans of my era, I discovered him, as I did the blues, through British Invasion artists such as Georgie Fame, John Mayall and Van Morrison, whom he inspired. Mose remains the coolest blender of blues/jazz singing ever. His voice and phrasing? Utterly irresistible. KK


Ornette Coleman
The Shape Of Jazz To Come
Speakers Corner/Atlantic SD1317 (180g vinyl)

Three reasons to put aside HFN for a minute and order a copy right now. First, the music remains astounding 63 years on, second is it's one of those milestone jazz LPs like Kind Of Blue which exhibited influence beyond its era – the title, as critics wrote, is well-deserved – and third, the sound (which is why you're reading this) is breathtaking. It's relentlessly seductive, even the more tweeter-torturing screeches from Coleman's sax, but the duels with Don Cherry's cornet will call to mind guitar duets years later from rock gods like Allman/Betts. It was a toss-up between this and the Mose Allison LP, from different labels, but both recognising the genius of Atlantic. KK


Electric Light Orchestra
Mobile Fidelity MFSV 1-514 (180g Supervinyl)

Gee, thanks, Mofi – make life even more complex: you've produced the best-ever pressing of ELO's 1974 symphony, which yielded the hit 'Can't Get It Out Of My Head'. The sound is so good that I, a diehard fan since the band first emerged post-The Move, have reassessed my opinion of it, hearing it as less pretentious and 'prog rock' than before, especially when compared with its 'easier' predecessors. It's still a concept LP which doesn't quite rank with The Kinks' Arthur, let alone The Who's Tommy. But why 'complex'? Because you're about to drop a One-Step version on us. And I cannot imagine how it will better this, especially in utter grandeur. KK


Keep Moving
Union Square Music SALVOLP11 (180g vinyl)

Toning down the silliness, and maturing ever-so-slightly, Madness reached their fifth LP, the last one for Stiff and with founder member, keyboardist Mike Barson, with a change in sound. By 1984, they were downplaying the ska element a tad and coming up with better lyrics. Leaving aside the order in which these bands appeared, this is another rock 'n' roll glimpse of British life worthy of the Britpop genre's creators, The Kinks, and their progeny: The Jam, Blur, et al. I mean, who doesn't love 'Michael Caine'? Madness devotees who own this might consider its purchase for the exceptional sound, and the incredible new interviews spread over the inner sleeve. KK