The Bargain Buy

Elsewhere recommends interesting or Essential Elsewhere albums -- or useful collections by important artists -- which come at a low price. Build a real world collection of discs beyond what you have invisibly in your iPod, laptop or memory stick.

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THE BARGAIN BUY: Fargo, The Complete First Season (DVD)

31 Aug 2015

Just as the television series Fargo -- based on the Coen brothers much acclaimed mid-Nineties film of the same name -- started screening in New Zealand, a well placed television critic went into print asking why anyone would want to taint the reputation of the movie and indicated this would inevitably be something of smallscreen dog of a series. Well, that just went to prove that sometimes... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dire Straits: Dire Straits

24 Aug 2015

Although it's long been fashionable and indeed appropriate to dismiss Dire Straits -- sometimes however more for what they became than what they did, although the headband remains a low in pop culture -- it's worth remembering how fresh their debut album sounded at the time. Just as the music media was getting up a real head of steam on punk, Dire Straits arrived with tight songs, a... > Read more

Lions

THE BARGAIN BUY: Grease (DVD)

17 Aug 2015    1

A fortnight ago when Grease appeared unexpectedly on our small screen we, the Elsewhere household, laughed at the terrible opening credits and thereafter -- both us -- were hooked. Neither of us had seen it in decades but had fond memories of how silly it was, but by the end we realized what we had missed all those decades in between. How clever it was too. Between the cheap opening and... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Real Frank Sinatra

10 Aug 2015    1

One of the most hilariously incongruous sights is to see the immaculately suited Frank Sinatra singing Jerome Kerne's Ol' Man River: the handsome young Frank with his manicured fingernails, spotlessly white tuxedo and styled hair singing, "You and me we sweat and strain, our bodies all achin' and racked with pain . . .". Just check out the clip and you'll see what we mean. And... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Real Duke Ellington

3 Aug 2015

Many years ago I posted a piece about Duke Ellington under the heading "A genius, but not that great?" in which I referred to the argument by jazz scholar James Lincoln Collier. His thesis was that gifted though Ellington was in a number of areas he was not a genius in any, so therefore . . . I pointed out the flaw in this, but one reader took extreme exception and thought I had... > Read more

Harlem Speaks (1933)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Whiplash (Blu-Ray)

27 Jul 2015

When this gripping drama about an aspiring young jazz drummer and his emotionally abusive tutor was released in cinemas last year Elsewhere warned that "jazz people" -- protective of their turf and picky in the extreme -- wouldn't like it. And sure enough . . . Most critics loved it (as did audiences) but inevitably there were articles saying no self-repecting young drummer... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Adele; 21

20 Jul 2015

It's perhaps a little redundant to be suggesting this as a Bargain Buy, given about 30 million people around the world have already bought it. That probably means maybe one in every five New Zealanders has a copy . . . but wait because there is, literally, more. This was British singer Adele's major breakthrough although her debut album 19 in 2008 was a Grammy winner for best new... > Read more

Set Fire to the Rain

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Byrds; There is a Season

13 Jul 2015

For most people the Byrds were a great singles band and there is ample evidence to support that view (Mr Tambourine Man, Turn Turn Turn, Eight Miles High, Ballad of Easy Rider and so on). For such folk there are any number of decent single CD compilations. Others however would also argue for their albums Fifth Dimension, Younger Than Yesterday and Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the latter... > Read more

Chimes of Freedom

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle

6 Jul 2015

Bruce Springsteen's debut album Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ released in early '73 sounds far too wordy, steeped in post-folk Dylan and try-hard street poetry to be of much interest today. It was filled with promise but only a few songs realised it. The follow-up later that year however -- this album which often boils with boisterous energy -- coupled all the best of the debut with... > Read more

Kitty's Back

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Beach Boys; Surfin' Safari/Surfin' USA

29 Jun 2015    3

While sensible folk agree that Brian Wilson was a song craftsman and produced work of genius in the mid Sixties -- the period which is one of the focal points of the current film Love and Mercy -- everyone has to begin somewhere, although it's fashionable to dismiss their surf albums at the start of their career. Critics don't surf, huh? And the clothes didn't ever look cool, and... > Read more

Lonely Sea

THE BARGAIN BUY: Mark Knopfler; Tracker

22 Jun 2015

Although not quite the gem that its predecessor -- the highly recommended double disc Privateering from 2012 -- is, this single disc of downbeat and often wry observations from the former Dire Straits man confirms he still has a particular gift. It is in downbeat and wry observations . . . coupled with rather surreptitous tunes which ease their way into the subconscious. On this album he... > Read more

Basil

THE BARGAIN BUY: Michael Jackson; Off the Wall

15 Jun 2015

Although Thriller was the bigger album (about 60 million sold), Off the Wall (with a paltry 20 million or so) is just a whole lot more danceable fun. It contained the dancefloor fillers Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough and Rock With You (the double-whammy openers), built a bridge btween Motown soul, slick r'n'b and disco (Working Day and Night and Get on the Floor, the two following tracks,... > Read more

Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough

THE BARGAIN BUY: Leonard Cohen; Songs of Leonard Cohen

8 Jun 2015    1

Given his cheerful stage demeanor these days it's a bit hard to reconcile Leonard Cohen with the man who was once referred to as Laughing Len or The One Man Joy Division on account of his serious, sometimes glum and melancholy songs. That reputation was largely based on his first albums, and especially this lovely debut from '67 which contains his classics So Long Marianne, Suzanne, Hey... > Read more

The Stranger Song

THE BARGAIN BUY: Elvis Presley; The Real Elvis 60's Collection

1 Jun 2015

Although there is no shortage of Elvis Presley collections in the world -- indeed we've featured a few at the Bargain Buy in the past -- this one comes highly recommended for a couple of reasons. Too many people are quick to dismiss most of Elvis' catalogue in the Sixties because it was cluttered with knocked-off soundtracks songs . . . and it is rather hard to get excited about songs like... > Read more

You Don't Know Me

THE BARGAIN BUY: Blue Oyster Cult; The Best Of Blue Oyster Cult

25 May 2015    1

There are some bands and artists which are an obsession for some and go right by others. Recently I met a guy who had everything that Todd Rundgren had ever done and I felt slightly ashamed that I only had about a dozen albums and maybe 15 CDs. This guy had a Wall of Todd. I suspect Blue Oyster Cult -- who exist on the tightrope between hard rock and concise prog -- are one of those... > Read more

Godzilla

THE BARGAIN BUY: Alice Cooper; The Very Best Of

18 May 2015

Although this 14-song collection falls far short of its title -- classics like I'm Eighteen, Billion Dollar Babies, School's Out and No More Mr Nice Guy are all live versions from his '95 album Classicks -- this does at least cover some pretty decent territory, albeit drawn from a fairly narrow period. Opening with Feed My Frankenstein (co-written with Zodiac Mindwarp) and House of Fire... > Read more

Hey Stoopid

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Real Count Basie; The Ultimate Collection (Sony)

11 May 2015

The Count Basie Orchestra -- which plays a short New Zealand tour in a fortnight -- must be one of the longest running jazz outfits anywhere. In the current line-up they have players appointed by Basie himself, who died 31 years ago. Most musicians don't get into the band on their way to somewhere else, they get into the Basie band because that's where they want to be. And they stay, often... > Read more

Feedin' the 'Bean' (1941)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Essential Janis Joplin

4 May 2015

Seeing Beth Hart work herself into a sweat just two songs into her set at the Powerstation recently was a reminder of a time when women singers were real rock'n'roll blues belters. Hart -- who played Janis Joplin in a theatre production -- comes from that lineage and seems almost an anachronism these days when so many young women affect the role of a fragile naif. Singers like Hart,... > Read more

One Good Man

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Essential Roy Orbison

27 Apr 2015    1

With his extraordinary range, a catalogue of original songs which (like Arthur Alexander) told often told interior monologue stories, personal tragedies hidden behind dark glasses and a mystique enhanced by so few interviews, the great Roy Oribison was as unique in popular culture as Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and Scott Walker. Few would try to cover Orbison's classic songs (Pretty Woman,... > Read more

Leah

THE BARGAIN BUY: Superbrew; Africa Aroha

20 Apr 2015

 When, just five years ago, this innovative and enjoyable album from '87 was given an "at last!" reissue on CD, Elsewhere used it as an example of how exciting New Zealand jazz had been in those times. The jazz scene in Auckland has become more vibrant in the years since, but this album still holds attention for its lively criss-cross of African sounds (treatments of Abdullah... > Read more

Aroha