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: Fleetwood Mac; 3 Original Album Classics

13 Apr 2015    2

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

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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

THE BARGAIN BUY: U2; ZOO TV, Live From Sydney (DVD)

24 Nov 2014    1

Stadium shows like the recent Rolling Stones event at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium have become familiar enough for their massive side screens, great sound and integrated lighting effects (not to mention fireworks). They are entertainment spectacles but in many ways -- because the music and the lights have to be so synchronised -- that they don't really offer a frisson of excitement at the... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Pink Floyd; Pulse (DVD set)

17 Nov 2014

With Pink Floyd in the news again (or at least the remaining two) for the farewell album The Endless River here's an interesting flashback (to when they were three). Here across two discs is them filmed live at Earls Court, London in 1994 with additional features (video clips, interviews etc) and a variety of audio set-up options. This was when they were visually impressive with... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers; Greatest Hits

10 Nov 2014

Here's my theory about the early acclaim afforded the latest Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' album Hypnotic Eye. Word went out -- from Tom? - that this was a real rocking return to their classic period and, on the evidence of just the first few songs (which are tougher than most of his recent work) the critical community lined up behind Rolling Stone writer David Fricke and his ilk who... > Read more

Even the Losers

THE BARGAIN BUY: Cream; The Best of Cream

2 Nov 2014

When the great bass player Jack Bruce died a fortnight ago his life was sadly, but inevitably in these days of tweets and soundbites, reduced to just the few years he was with Cream. That he had quite a brilliant jazz career (with the likes of Carla Bley, check out his extensive catalogue on the CMP label in the Nineties), innovative solo albums (Harmony Row from '71 is especially... > Read more

Strange Brew

THE BARGAIN BUY: Crowded House: Crowded House + Woodface

27 Oct 2014    1

Here's one of the budget price gap-fillers for your collection, the Crowded House debut album from '86 and Woodface from five years later when Tim Finn briefly joined brother Neil in his band. That first remains one of the most impressive pop-rock powerpop debuts by any artist and contains the sublime hit Don't Dream It's Over alongside favourites such as Something So Strong, World Where... > Read more

I Walk Away