Absolute Elsewhere

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WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . ROY BUCHANAN: The Messiah who isn't coming back

29 Aug 2016  |  3 min read

There have been any number of Southern blues, soul and rock'n'roll musicians who have struggled with their pull of their secular and spiritual sides: Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Son House, Al Green . . . and the great guitarist Roy Buchanan. Arkansas-born Buchanan -- who died in an apparent jail-cell suicide in 1988 at age 48, although that has been seriously questioned -- was plagued... > Read more

THE MONKEES; THEN AND AGAIN (2016): It was 50 years ago today . . .

27 Aug 2016  |  3 min read  |  1

Anyone can easily locate the YouTube clip of the 1967 recording sessions for the Beatles' extraordinary A Day in the Life. The montage shows celebrity pals hanging around: Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull, Donovan clowning with George Harrison, a youthful and happy Keith Richards, Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd sipping wine, Marijke from the hippie clothiers The Fool earnestly waving a... > Read more

That Was Then, This is Now

DEATH BY HUNGARIAN MUSIC (2016): The cult of Gloomy Sunday

15 Aug 2016  |  3 min read

In small, conspiracy-theory pockets of popular culture there is the belief that some songs are poison, in the same way that theatrical types don’t refer openly to Shakespeare's Macbeth but rather say, “the Scottish play”. The fatalistic songs of Robert Johnson – who allegedly made a pact with the Devil down at the crossroads outisde Clarksdale, Mississippi... > Read more

Gloomy Sunday, by Billie Holiday

POI E AND PATEA MAORI (1988): Dalvanius, man of passion

4 Aug 2016  |  19 min read  |  1

The old wooden Methodist church in a side street in Patea isn’t used much anymore. A lot of places in Patea aren't. It's a town battered by the economic ideas of successive governments and people have had to move out. The work just isn’t there anymore. But at least once a week the cobwebs in the church rafters shake when the Patea Maori group, the town's most visible... > Read more

Patea Maori: Ngoi Ngoi

DINOSAUR JR CONSIDERED (2016): If'n it ain't broke

1 Aug 2016  |  2 min read

Hard to believe, but Dinosaur Jr out of Massachusetts, first formed over 30 years ago. They've been helmed by sole constant , singer-guitarist J. Mascis – although co-founder and bassist Lou Barlow, who left after the first five years, rejoined when the band was resurrected after an eight year hiatus ending in late '05. A long and productive career (some fine solo projects... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

25 Jul 2016  |  4 min read

When guitarist Hank Garland's '59 Chev station wagon spun out on a road in Tennessee and hammered into a tree in September 1961 it left him unconscious in hospital for weeks. And although he recovered and lived another 43 years he never went back to work . . . but what a career he'd had since he'd arrived in Nashville as a precociously gifted teenager 13 years before the crash. At... > Read more

Sugar Foot Rag

SHARON JONES CONSIDERED (2106): Lady willpower

25 Jul 2016  |  3 min read

When opportunity came knocking, Sharon Jones was waiting to open the door. She was 40 and had been ready for decades. No surprise then that once her career took off she released albums with the titles I Learned the Hard Way and Give the People What They Want. Jones – now 60, half a dozen albums to her name, Grammy nominated and the subject a recent film festival documentary... > Read more

TRACE BUNDY INTERVIEWED (2016): Songs, stories and fortunately no singing

20 Jul 2016  |  7 min read

There are some musicians you need to see live to fully appreciate what it is they do. American guitarist Trace Bundy – on his way here for a national tour, see dates below -- is one of those. He takes to the stage with just a couple of acoustic guitars but -- through the use of delay pedals to create loops of sound, unusual tunings and different capo settings – he can... > Read more

THE ZELLE RECORDS STORY (2016): Hemisphere to hemisphere

4 Jul 2016  |  2 min read

Let's just say immediately that when it comes to music, Zelle Records out of Vienna in Austria is extremely patriotic. About New Zealand music, that is. According to the label's head honcho (and sole employee) Arno Loeffler, Zelle is a “one-man, vinyl-only record label dedicated to alternative rock and pop music from Dunedin and elsewhere in New Zealand”. Their... > Read more

AARADHNA SPEAKS ABOUT HER NEW ALBUM (2016): Not just another brown girl in the ring

1 Jul 2016  |  <1 min read

Over here at Elsewhere Aaradhna has been one of our favourite New Zealand artists for the intelligence, soul and power she brings to her music. Her previous album Treble and Reverb in 2012 won a stack of awards and we had it as one of our favourites of that year. (She answered our Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire when she was nominated for a Silver Scroll after it, see here). Recently... > Read more

THE RAMONES CONSIDERED (2016): Like the Beach Boys on speed

1 Jul 2016  |  2 min read

Hey! Ho! Let's go . . . and check out the key albums by the band that was the Beatles for brats, New York's classic punk-pop group known for their “1-2-3-4” no-mucking-about performances and memorable, economic songs. And the reason at this time? Because their thrilling debut (see below) has come out in a reissue  . . . and it's bigger than God this time. ... > Read more

VAN MORRISON: A CLASSIC PERIOD REVISITED (2016): Is it too late to stop now?

27 Jun 2016  |  4 min read

Although Van Morrison made many indifferent albums (like the travesty What's Wrong With This Picture? : Answer? Everything), since the thoroughly enjoyable Keep It Simple ('08) he's been back on form. But you suspect even longtime fans have given up listening after many disappointments and recognising that Van now is not the Van of then (or Them). Longtime aficionados will... > Read more

Cyprus Avenue (live at the Troubadour, 1973)

JEFF LYNNE CONSIDERED (2016): Otis Wilbury, I presume?

27 Jun 2016  |  3 min read  |  1

For a man who loved the Beatles and whose band Electric Light Orchestra located itself on the axis of Sgt Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour, Jeff Lynne was handed a gift and a curse by his favourite group in the early 90s. When longtime Beatles' producer George Martin declined to work on three proposed singles using home demos by the late John Lennon – he begged off saying his... > Read more

BRIAN WILSON INTERVIEWED (2016): Still not made for these times

13 Jun 2016  |  6 min read  |  2

Brian Wilson – the genius behind the Beach Boys' hits from the elemental and Chuck Berry-borrowings of Surfin' USA to the ethereal Good Vibrations and beyond – cuts a sad and strangely out-of-time figure these days. For more than a decade he has been touring his golden period in the mid-to-late Sixties – half a century ago – playing his reconstructed album SMiLE... > Read more

PET SOUNDS CONSIDERED (2016): Brian Wilson's gifts on display

7 Jun 2016  |  3 min read  |  1

There are two reasons to be excited about the 50th anniversary box set of the Beach Boys' classic album Pet Sounds being released next week (June 17). The first is that it exists at all – a whopping 104 tracks across the five CD version which includes mono and stereo mixes, instrumental backing tracks and live versions – and we can hear how the mind of its creator Brian... > Read more

TERRY REID REVISITED (2016): Take me to the River, and to the other side

30 May 2016  |  5 min read  |  1

It's probably safe to say that unless you were there at the time or are an avid reader of the rear-view looking British rock monthlies, you've never heard of bands like Spooky Tooth, Steeleye Span or Colosseum. Or folk artists like John Renbourn, Davy Graham and Bert Jansch. Or even Terry Reid, although this singer-guitarist – now age 66 – has the distinction of being the... > Read more

River (alt take)

PAUL SIMON CONSIDERED (2016): He is a rock

30 May 2016  |  3 min read

For more than half a century Paul Simon has been articulating the concerns of his generation, as in American Tune in the Watergate era of disillusionment: “I don't know a soul who's not been battered, I don't have a friend who feels at ease”. Sometimes his lyrics have seemed prescient (“the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls" in Sound of... > Read more

CHRIS STAPLETON CONSIDERED (2016): Bigger than country, and going bigger

25 May 2016  |  5 min read

In the early Nineties when Billboard magazine adopted the more accurate Soundscan method of assessing record sales, three genres of music emerged as selling much more in America than anyone had previously thought: rap, alternative rock and country. It would be easy to simply note a divide there between urban (black, inner city), white college and rural (that mythical Middle America).... > Read more

Sometimes I Cry

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT … BERT JANSCH (2016): The most reluctant hero

23 May 2016  |  8 min read  |  1

Few musicians have recoiled from the glare of fame as assiduously as British guitarist and singer Bert Jansch. This solo artist and founder member of the seminal UK folk group Pentangle – less a band perhaps than a grouping of unlike minds and revolving membership -- was often an indifferent solo performer despite his obvious genius, was frequently drunk on stage (and admitted... > Read more

Needle of Death

BOB DYLAN and ERIC CLAPTON TODAY (2016): Older than yesterday

23 May 2016  |  5 min read  |  1

In recent times Mick Jagger has said he'd rather be interviewed by young journalists, because the old cynical ones are only ever interested in writing about the collective age of the Rolling Stones, which numbers in the centuries. He has a point and, whether you care for them or not these days, the Rolling Stones still make energetic blues-based rock . . . and are even promising... > Read more

Come Rain or Come Shine