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: 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


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


THE BARGAIN BUY: Fleetwood Mac; 3 Original Album Classics

13 Apr 2015    3

This struck me as funny: shortly after posting a front page mention of "the most famous line-up" of Fleetwood Mac playing New Zealand dates I got a sharp e-mail from a fellow who said, "Fleetwood Mac were famous before those Americans joined". Leaving aside the difference between "most famous" and "famous" -- and I maintain the line-up with "the... > Read more

The World Keep on Turning

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bob Dylan; Studs Terkel's Wax Museum

6 Apr 2015

There are an interesting number of radio and live broadcasts of the young Bob Dylan becoming available these days (like this, this and this), presumably because the songs are out of copyright . . . or that in an era drowing in illegal releases the owners of the tapes figure they might just as well go for it too. This hour-long radio session recorded in April '63 finds the young Dylan... > Read more

Bob Dylan's Dream

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists . . . Pure, Guitar Legends

30 Mar 2015

It's not because I was born in Scotland that I like a bargain, it just that . . . I like a bargain, as I think most people do. So when I see four CD set -- like this one -- at a ridiculously low price I am immediately attracted and start scanning the track listing to see if it is worth even the paltry sum they are asking. Well, across these 68 songs there are certainly choices most of... > Read more

Surfing with the Alien

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dave Dobbyn; Original Album Classics

23 Mar 2015

A curious thing happened recently when -- in separate incidents -- I spoke with some young people and then others my own age and the subject of Dave Dobbyn's long career came up. Both groups were well aware of his time with Th'Dudes and of course Loyal and Welcome Home etc, but his lengthy middle years (as it were) of the Nineties seemed unknown territory. I mentioned his Twist album... > Read more

What Have I Fallen For

THE BARGAIN BUY: Taylor Swift; Red

16 Mar 2015

Having seen Taylor Swift at Auckland's Vector Arena about 18 months ago (and going in know maybe one of her songs and far too much about her "private life") this Bargain Buy recommendation comes with admiration for her writing smarts. Her Red show was spectacularly good in terms of staging, her contact with the audienc and how she kept the costume changes fast and the momentum... > Read more


THE BARGAIN BUY: Searching for Sugar Man (DVD)

9 Mar 2015    1

To be honest, for reasons I could never quite understand this doco about Rodriguez really took off. Was it because people hadn't previously heard of the guy (they should have been reading Elsewhere, see here) or actually thought he was dead? Anyway this musically erratic, Dylan-influenced, Feliciano-on-acid singer-songwriter from Detroit in the Seventies got his bio-doco when a couple of... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Various Artists; Western Swing, The Absolutely Essential 3CD Collection

2 Mar 2015

Although the title of this collection might seem to oversell itself, and these 60 songs come with no liner notes, you set all that aside because of the consistent quality of the content and the cheap entry price. The sound of Western Swing can be as lively as a barn dance, as sophisticated as jump jive and small ensemble jazz, and as downhome as corn bread on the back porch. A melange... > Read more

Smoke Smoke Smoke That Cigarette

THE BARGAIN BUY: Tom Lehrer; An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer

23 Feb 2015

In one of the university courses I take, I spend a couple of hours on a lecture under the title -- lifted from Frank Zappa -- "Does Humour Belong in Music?" The general point is that most contemporary musicians take themselves so seriously that we can barely imagine them cracking a smile let alone writing a funny song. Talking to you Chris Martin et al. Yet humour has been a... > Read more

Oedipus Rex

THE BARGAIN BUY: Johnny Winter; Original Album Classics

16 Feb 2015    2

As the sole proprietor of Elsewhere and a massive Bob Seger fan, I would never casually doubt My Bob-Man who sang "rock'n'roll never forgets". But Bob, in truth it does. For anyone who wasn't there for Bob Seger's exceptional period in the early Eightes when he articulated pre-Springsteen blue-collar rock'n'soul (outta Detroit in Bob's case) or his introspective songs on essential... > Read more

Highway 61 Revisited

THE BARGAIN BUY: Otis Redding; The Original Album Series (Atco)

9 Feb 2015    1

It seems remarkable that for such an influential figure in soul and popular music, Otis Redding's recording career was actually a few months short of just four years, the time between his 1964 debut album Pain in My Heart and his death in December '67. His biggest selling album Dock of the Bay was released a year after his plane crashed and he hadn't really crossed over to white audiences... > Read more

I've Been Loving You Too Long

THE BARGAIN BUY: John Lee Hooker; Boogie Chillun

2 Feb 2015

Anyone who still doubts the truth of the Muddy Waters song The Blues Had a Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll need only look at this double CD collection. Among the 50 songs are titles which became the proving ground for dozens of artists, notably in the British Blues Boom of the early Sixties: Dimples, Boom Boom, One Bourbon One Scotch One Beer, It Serves Me Right to Suffer . . .... > Read more

I Can't Quit You Now Blues

THE BARGAIN BUY: Duane Eddy; $1,000,000.00 Worth of Twang

26 Jan 2015

Although they might have looked and sounded more tame than their counterparts who followed in the mid Sixties, the late Fifties and the pre-Beatle years boasted any number of "guitar hero" figures, notably Link Wray, Hank Marvin (of the Shadows) and the many anonymous players in surf bands. Among them was Duane Eddy who scored huge hits with Rebel Rouser, Ramrod and the theme to... > Read more

The Quiet Three

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Buzzcocks; Original Album Series

19 Jan 2015

Although the Buzzcocks came through when punk kicked the doors down in the late Seventies, they were -- despite singer/writer Pete Shelley being inspired by seeing the Sex Pistols -- less of a punk band than a high-wired pop-rock band who carved out great slices of short, sharp songs with a real pop sensibility. That's perhaps why, when they still hit the touring circuit these days, they... > Read more

Without You (from All Set)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Percy Sledge; When a Man Loves a Woman

12 Jan 2015

In his 1989 book The Heart of Rock and Soul; The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, the American writer Dave Marsh has the title track of this album in at #31. That's more than 100 places higher than Born in the USA, My Generation and the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen. Yes, it is that good. As Marsh notes, it is "barely a record at all. It's just a guy singing his song, sparely... > Read more

When She Touches Me

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Lumineers; The Lumineers

1 Dec 2014    1

This three-piece from Colorado got a long way and a lot of attention for their song Ho Hey of which I said at the time that you' bet Dublin bar bands would be learning it. It is annoyingly catchy but far from the best thing on this interesting album which has engaging stories and some songs which are considerably less cheerful than that boozy singalong. I also said this about the song... > Read more