Audiophile: Vinyl, September 2021

hfnalbum.pngBlood, Sweat & Tears
Blood, Sweat & Tears
Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-016 (two One-Step 45rpm LPs)

BS&T's 'difficult second album', this slaughtered the debut in sales, establishing the group. Along with Chicago, BS&T showed that 'big band'-orchestrated prog-rock could attract listeners during the psychedelic era. David Clayton-Thomas's bellowing vocals, peerless musicians, songs from Laura Nyro, Cream, Billie Holiday, Eric Satie, Motown, Stevie Winwood: how could it miss? It didn't, somehow beating the far superior Abbey Road to Grammy Album of the Year for 1970. Despite that fluke (for true idiocy, check out Rolling Stone's 500 Best Albums of All Time), it's an amazing LP, never sounding better than this. 'You Made Me So Very Happy', 'Spinning Wheel'… It's a masterpiece. KK


Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Déjà Vu
Rhino/Atlantic 03497 84802 (LP + four CDs)

If not for Blood, Sweat & Tears, this other magnificent 'difficult second album' would be LP of the Month. It's on this page instead of the digital because the remastered vinyl is audibly superior to the CD – reason enough for buying the set. But it's aimed at devotees: three entire CDs contain demos, outtakes and alternates to keep 'em busy for hours. Here is a magnificent '50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition', one of the best so far and one of my all-time fave LPs. The sound from the opening track is proof it's unabashedly 'demo-worthy'. 'Our House', 'Woodstock', 'Helpless', 'Teach Your Children' – every track a gem, and no rock library is complete without it. KK


Fleetwood Mac
Warner R2 599176 (two LPs + 7in single + three CDs)

Although I didn't see them live until a few years ago, I knew Fleetwood Mac would be breathtaking – this remastered LP from 1980 confirms they were 40 years ago, too. Live followed Tusk, but the band covered its entire career, including Peter Green-era's 'Oh Well' plus their best-loved songs: 'Rhiannon', 'Monday Morning', 'Over My Head', 'Go Your Own Way' and enough to fill two LPs. The CDs include the original LP plus 14 unreleased live tracks, while the single gives us two unreleased demos. The sound is excellent by any measure, a marvel for a live recording. Actually, it's better than when I saw them, measuring circa-110dB+ at 200m from the stage! KK


Bobby Womack
The Poet
ABKCO 8789-1 (180g LP)

This faultless reissue marking the 40th anniversary of a soul/funk classic reminds the music world once more that Womack was a genius. Many of us fell in love with his music upon learning he penned The Rolling Stones' 'It's All Over Now', as well as J Geils Band's 'Looking For A Love'. Released in 1981, it showed Womack conquering another genre in a long career, that of smooth, grown-up funk. Side 1 kicks off with the irresistible 'So Many Sides Of You', this remastered version going deeper and tighter than on the original pressing. Side 2 is the silkier, sexier side, the total package reviving his career as The Healer did for John Lee Hooker. Absolute joy. KK