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But Stewart's absence is a minor gripe, since the June 1969 tracks without him are perfect in every way.

It's just that the ear grows fond of his guitar against Hayes's blowing on the three tracks and misses him a bit on the balance.

As a result, the finished sound is spectacularly vivid and natural. Like tenor saxophonists Stan Getz and Joe Henderson in the 1960s, Hayes was brightly lyrical and bouncy and pure ear candy.

The album features multiple takes of individual songs, which to many may seem tedious. There isn't a dull moment on this bountiful set.

Three more versions recorded in June appear here without Stewart.

I'm assuming the group re-recorded the song because the producer wanted an album of consistent players and that Stewart wasn't available on that date.

Or more than likely, Polygram ran into rights issues with the estates of the musicians. Not until 2018 were the Hayes Fontana sessions revisited by Universal.

The two-CD deluxe edition was remastered at London's Gearbox Records Studios, directly from the original source tapes.

His playing was uniformly excellent across the dates.

Everything that emerged from the bell of his instrument was colorful, seamless and hued with English optimism.

It's a shame guitarist Stewart wasn't teamed with Hayes on all of these tracks.

One is the two-CD version with alternate tracks and breakdown tracks that I focused on today.

The other is a single-CD version with just a single take of each tune, what is likely the album that might have been if released.

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