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John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola & Paco De Lucia: Passion, Grace & Fire, Leon Russell: Leon Russell

The amazing resurgence of vinyl reissues has Audio Fidelity working overtime to keep up with the demand. Here are two recent reissues that are a must for your listening pleasure.

The three guitar team of John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola and Paco De Lucia resulted in a number of studio and concert summits, with this one from London one of their best. At 31 minutes, it allows for some amazing sounds, and the 3 gents are in an extroverted mood, producing string versions of “can you top this?” on DiMeola’s “Orient Blue” and title track. Each artist delivers a pair of tunes, and it’s a kind of last man standing on McLaughlin’s “David” whereas De Lucia’s “Sichia” is filled with Andalusian charm. You’ll have to catch your breath after each tune, but the race is well worth it.

Leon Russell’s 1970 debut is also considered a classic, featuring his songs that eventually became pop standards. Being better known as a producer, he gets the crème of the crop to back him up, including Charlie Watts/dr, Klaus Voorman/b, Bill Wyman/b, Steve Winwood/key, Ringo Starr/dr, George Harrison/g and even Mick Jagger/voc to name just a handful. His opening “A Song For You” is still definitive, although “Hummingbird” and “Delta Lady” are not far behind. As far as good, old fashioned roots rock, you can’t do better than “Roll Away The Stone” while he puts some gospel flavor into “Hurtsome Body.” A true desert island disc, and the engineering gives it the clear studio sound that it deserves.

by George W. Harris • January 29, 2018 •

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