Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

From the Vaults

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Ariel: Yellow Submarine (1997)

Ariel: Yellow Submarine (1997)

Another track from the often hilarious and sometimes worrying Plastic Soul Vol 4 album which is a compilation of mad Beatles covers, many from Russia. Ariel weigh in with two entries, A Little Help From My Friends and this tempo-challenging stab at Yellow Submarine which ends up waltzing down the Danube. The band – which these days seems to consist of five staid middle-aged... more >>

8 Jun 2012

John Giorno: Suicide Sutra (1973)

John Giorno: Suicide Sutra (1973)

An important warning before you listen: Do not push play if you are suicidal, off your medication or are having a really hard time of it right now. Especially don't push play if you have access to a firearm. This disturbing piece was written by New York poet John Giorno (born 1936) and appeared as a piece on his Dial-A-Poem phoneline which he founded in the late Sixties. People could ring... more >>

7 Jun 2012

The Inhalers: Nico on a Bike (1990)

The Inhalers: Nico on a Bike (1990)

When Nigel Beckford of Wellington got in touch two years ago about the album by the band Sven Olsen's Brutal Canadian Love Saga, he opened a door into a very strange and wonderful world. That album Songs From the Bottom of a Hilltop went into our Best of Elsewhere 2010 list and has, as expected, become a collector's item. There were only 400 pressed and it was an elaborate package of two... more >>

6 Jun 2012    1

Golden Harvest: Give a Little Love (1978)

Golden Harvest: Give a Little Love (1978)

In the late Seventies, Golden Harvest from Morrinsville were briefly riding a wave of success. Their song I Need Your Love (see clip below) had been a huge hit and won them single of the year, and their self-titled debut album -- recorded at Stebbings by Rob Aickin with Ian Morris engineering -- delivered on their promise. With the exception of Dylan's All Along the Watchtower delivered... more >>

5 Jun 2012    7

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Monkberry Moon Delight (1972)

Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Monkberry Moon Delight (1972)

With Paul and Linda McCartney's Ram album being given the reissue treatment -- and album critically derided on release in '71 but a longtime Essential Elsewhere album and now picking up highly favourable reviews -- it is timely to post this track by the great Screamin' Jay Hawkins (who is interviewed here). Throughout his career McCartney to that point had drawn on interesting source... more >>

4 Jun 2012    1

Johnny Cash: The Chicken in Black (1984)

Johnny Cash: The Chicken in Black (1984)

Fortunately for Johnny Cash he didn't die around the time he hit rock bottom in the mid Eighties. If he'd gone then -- before his career resurrection through the American Recordings and the Walk the Line film -- he might not have been remembered as the man-mountain solid rock of country, the troubled man of faith or the middle-finger rabble-rousing guy of that famous photo. Imagine if The... more >>

3 Jun 2012

The Flys: Love and a Molotov Cocktail (1978)

The Flys: Love and a Molotov Cocktail (1978)

1977 was a confusing year in Britain: pub-rockers Dr Feelgood were at an all-time peak, the Sex Pistols, the Clash and others advanced the punk agenda, and off on the margins were power-pop bands which hadn't quite seen the changes coming. The four-piece Flys out of Coventry -- a little distant from the London scene -- were in the latter category, they knew a power pop-cum-New Wave riff but... more >>

29 May 2012

Red Hot Peppers: Witchwood (1976)

Red Hot Peppers: Witchwood (1976)

New Zealand's short-lived but impressive Red Hot Peppers in the Seventies revolved around multi-instrumentalist Robbie Laven (originally from Holland) and singer-guitarist Marion Arts. Laven was quite a musical threat, he could apparently play about 50 instruments and on their debut album Toujours Yours he plays guitars, sitar, fiddle, lyre, qin, sax, dobro, banjo, mandolin, flute . . .... more >>

28 May 2012    2

Elmer Fudd: The Fool on the Hill (1995)

Elmer Fudd: The Fool on the Hill (1995)

There have been thousands of covers and interpretations of Beatles' songs -- from the refined (orchestral and chamber groups) to the ridiculous (dogs barking out She Loves You), from jazz and Hawaiian (by way of Belgium see here!), from reggae to trip-hop and . . . well, then there were the Rutles (whose parodies were also covered). There are also these exception and bizarre collections... more >>

22 May 2012

Bertha Lee Patton: Mind Reader Blues (1934)

Bertha Lee Patton: Mind Reader Blues (1934)

The last wife of Charley Patton, Bertha Lee was a fine singer in her own right -- and she probably had plenty of reasons to sing the blues. She was only married to Patton for about four years -- he died in 1934 -- but by all accounts their relationship was a volatile one. Honeyboy Edwards said, "Charley always had a lot of women. Men didn't like him much because all the women was... more >>

21 May 2012

Leon Russell: Back to the Island (1975)

Leon Russell: Back to the Island (1975)

Leon Russell is like the Kevin Bacon of rock: there are six degrees of separation between him and anyone else. Actually, that's not true. There are about three. Leon to the Beatles? Well he was at Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh so that takes care of that one . . . and opens enormous doors to others. And Leon to Dylan? Same gig, more and different doors opening. To Elvis? He... more >>

18 May 2012

Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan: Jimmy Berman (1971)

Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan: Jimmy Berman (1971)

Given they had so much in common -- a love of words, counterculture cachet, Jewish upbringing and so on -- it is a surprise poet Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan didn't write and record together more often. There was a session with poet Anne Waldman in 1968 (which had Arthur Russell on cello), others in '71 with a similar group (and a sitar player) and another in '81. Oddly enough it seems... more >>

17 May 2012

The Viscounts: Harlem Nocturne (1959)

The Viscounts: Harlem Nocturne (1959)

In the final month of the Fifties, the Viscounts covered this piece which Ray Noble and His Orchestra had introduced two decades previous. But to it the Viscounts brought a sleazy menace in the simple bass line and shimmering guitar behind a saxophone sound which comes at you from a shadowy back alley. It reeks of film noir sensibility. This moody track was included on the excellent... more >>

16 May 2012

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman Smith was an unlikely chart-topper when he knocked Elton John off the top of the US charts with this, his second single: he was 49 at the time and prior to that his career had been firmly on the other side of the microphone as an engineer and a producer. But what a career he had enjoyed. In his late 30s he'd been taken on as a sound engineer at EMI's studios in Abbey Road and was... more >>

15 May 2012

Status Quo: When My Mind is Not Live (1968)

Status Quo: When My Mind is Not Live (1968)

For the past 40+ years, Status Quo have been a heads-down boogie band in denims and "rockin' all over the world". So it's hardly surprising people would know them for nothing more than that enjoyably reductive style. However . . . For a few years in the late Sixties the original band (with the inevitable line-up changes) flirted with trippy hippie rock of the psychedelic... more >>

14 May 2012

The Saints: (I'm) Stranded (1976)

The Saints: (I'm) Stranded (1976)

Bob Geldof once observed, "Rock music of the Seventies was changed by three bands -- the Sex Pistols, the Ramones and the Saints". That the Saints out of suburban Brisbane -- hardly the home of rock music, let alone an angry and intelligent version -- should be in that illustrious company comes as no surprise to anyone who followed their career from this exceptional debut single,... more >>

12 May 2012

Sam Gopal: Escalator (1969)

Sam Gopal: Escalator (1969)

Everyone has to start somewhere, and most diehard Motorhead fans can tell you their mainman, the legendary Lemmy, was in the psychedelic spacerock outfit Hawkwind before he was kicked out for lifestyle, not musical, differences. They were on acid, he was on speed. But even before Hawkwind, Lemmy was in another band -- and it was an equally interesting one. In the late Sixties, Sam... more >>

11 May 2012    1

Cheryl Lynn: Got To Be Real (1978)

Cheryl Lynn: Got To Be Real (1978)

If it weren't for Madonna's hit Vogue most people outside of New York wouldn't have known of this posturing late Eighties style which seemed to come with more attitude-dance than seemed healthy. Narcissism isn't pleasant at any time. But the music was something else and no musical style should be held to account because if its followers (or even its practitoners). The... more >>

10 May 2012

Felius Andromeda: Meditations (1967)

Felius Andromeda: Meditations (1967)

There are a number of stories about John Lennon being so smitten by Procol Harum's Whiter Shade of Pale that he would play it over and over, often while tripping. This from a man whose band had just delivered Sgt Pepper's on an unsuspecting world? But Lennon was not so taken with the song's melding of classical allusions and dreamy lyrics that he went out and tried to replicate it, as any... more >>

9 May 2012

John Cage: Mushroom Haiku (date unknown)

John Cage: Mushroom Haiku (date unknown)

The American composer John Cage (1912 - 92) was best known for something he did in '52, which was nothing. The composition which he performed was entitled 4'33" and involved Cage sitting at a piano for exactly that duration and not playing a note. Since then the work has been much discussed by musicologists and comedians, and has been performed many, many times, and on a variety of... more >>

8 May 2012