Audiophile: Vinyl (September 2018)

hfnalbum.pngSlim Harpo
The Original King Bee (The Best Of Slim Harpo)
Analogue Productions APB114 (200g LP)

Mastered by Cohearent Audio from the best analogue tapes, this compilation covers 1957-1969, so judgments about sound quality are not meant to be taken as sonic absolutes. Rather, it reflects what care and integrity can do with iffy 'historic' originals. Harpo was a blues legend revered by the British – The Rolling Stones covered 'I'm A King Bee', while The Yardbirds, The Kinks, Them and others also plundered his catalogue. This disc gives you 14 original recordings from the Excello label, including the 1957 takes of 'I'm A King Bee' of 'I Got Love If You Want It', and 1960's 'Moody Blues' which may have inspired the band that left blues for Prog, sounding almost too good to be true. KK


Lynyrd Skynyrd
Second Helping
Analogue Productions APP-413-45 (two 45rpm LPs)

Shame on me if I rave about this 1974 LP just for one song, as the southern rockers' second release is as good as anything they ever produced. In fact, it's just about as good a swamp rock/hard boogie masterwork as you can find. But, aided by 45rpm status, it delivers what is the punchiest, most visceral, kick-ass incarnation yet of a song known intimately to every air-guitarist worth his imaginary strings: 'Sweet Home Alabama'. When a new edition adds something indescribable to a track you might have heard a hundred times via a dozen formats, then that is reason enough to buy. Try not playing this as loud as your system allows. KK


A Sea For Yourself
Modern Harmonic/Sundazed MH-8035 (two discs + DVD)

In addition to freaky effects LPs from the 1950s, Sundazed's Modern Harmonic subsidiary has been digging up wild soundtracks like this forgotten 1972 surf/psychedelic opus – and it's as 'cult' as anything it has ever issued. Appropriately pressed in sea-blue vinyl, the music covers too many genres to list, but it certainly evokes the period, especially surf culture. Trust me: there aren't many LPs with liner notes that mention The Firesign Theater, The Sunrays, The United States Of America (the band, not the country) and, indirectly, Captain & Tennille. As a bonus, to provide context, a DVD of the film is included, one you're unlikely to find elsewhere. KK


The Rising Storm
Calm Before…
Sundazed LP5550 (mono; 180g yellow vinyl)

As a New Englander who got to hear the Rockin' Ramrods, Puff, Orphan and other Boston bands in his youth, LPs such as this – from obscure local garage/punk legends – are reviewed with a bias to which I must own up to. This ultra-rarity from 1967, with near-mythical collector's status, boasts Ronn Campisi compositions, a cover of The Remains' 'Don't Look Back', must-play garage/frat-rock standards including 'In The Midnight Hour' and a handful of originals, all of which define The Rising Storm as a Nuggets-worthy band responsible for a self-pressed LP now worth $6500. Only now you can buy it for less than a tenth of that. Say, 'Thank you, Sundazed!'. KK