Audiophile: Vinyl, September 2022

hfnalbum.pngCarole King
Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-030 (two One-Step 45rpm LPs)

Like Sweet Baby James and Sgt Pepper's, this is one of those LPs which sold in such eye-watering numbers – over 25 million – that it's hard to find a Boomer audiophile or devotee of singer-songwriters without a copy. Equally, it has been audiophile'd before, so what can the One-Step process add? I have at least five pressings yet this one ups the ante so much that it rivals the open-reel tape. King's albums are all about vocals, and here her familiar voice sounds so warm and so real that you'll think you upgraded your speakers. There are so many highlights: the sax on 'Way Over Yonder', the harmonies, the gentle bass… but it's the piano opening to 'You've Got A Friend' that'll steal your heart. KK


Andy Bey
Experience And Judgment
Speakers Corner/Atlantic SD1654 (180g vinyl)

Though filed under jazz vocals, this remarkable LP from 1973 reminded me more of soul and funk from the same era, post-Otis and most notably of the grooves heard on Ben E King's Supernatural or (solo) Isaac Hayes. But Bey is more than that: said to have a four-octave range baritone, he exhibits an uncanny ability to sound like Joe Williams or Brook Benton as well as – in this case – any of the greats who might have signed to Philadelphia International. This album enjoys a cult following, but is deserving of more attention from a wider fan base, like the all-but-forgotten, begging-to-be-reissued masterpiece Soulful from Dionne Warwick. Yes, it's that good. KK


Travelling Without Moving
Sony Music 19439905091 (two yellow vinyl 180g LPs)

What's surprising about this remastered set, with bonus tracks, is not the sound – which from start to finish is, as you'd expect of first-class dance music, a showcase for bass – but the scary thought that a quarter-century has passed since its release. The lavish package, on heavily-pressed coloured vinyl, is justified: according to Guinness, Travelling Without Moving is the best-selling acid-jazz-funk album of all time, with over 7,000,000 copies out there, which must have paid for a couple of Jay Kay's Ferraris. It's certainly seductive, a rare instance where music made for the dance floor also rewards mere listening, and the hits on it are real ear-worms. KK

John McLaughlin
The Montreux Years
BMG BMGCAT555DLP (two 180g vinyl LPs)

Fortunate enough to have seen McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra on their first tour 50 years ago, I remain dazzled by his guitar work. What's so enjoyable about this selection is its span of 1978 to 2016, and the versatility remains breathtaking. I loved the nod to his early years with Graham Bond on 'Sing Me Softly Of The Blues', while the eight tracks from six appearances encompass electric and acoustic, recalling his work with Miles and others. Audiophiles will cherish the numbers with Paco de Lucia, but don't be confused by the Free Spirits: it's not the Larry Coryell-led outfit from 1967 (also on CD, but with slightly different tracks: BMGCAT555CD). KK