Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

From the Vaults

Keep up to date with RSS Feed iconRss or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.

Fats Waller: My Very Good Friend the Milkman Said (1935)

Fats Waller: My Very Good Friend the Milkman Said (1935)

Paul McCartney covers this old Waller song on his album Kisses on the Bottom where he goes back to songs he knew fondly in his childhood (and isn't the first Beatle to do so, Ringo did a collection "for his mum" with his album Sentimental Journey in 1970). But here is Waller, a man whose career was cut tragically short when he died in '43 at 39. But then he did rather push... more >>

8 Feb 2012

Straitjacket Fits: So Long Marianne (1990)

Straitjacket Fits: So Long Marianne (1990)

With Leonard Cohen much on our mind again with his new album Old Ideas, it was time to go to the vaults to find this version of his classic, as done by New Zealand's Straijacket Fits. This treatment appeared on their Hail album (and was on the flipside of the Hail 12"), and was the line-up which many considered the most musically interesting, with guitarist-singer-writer Andrew Brough... more >>

8 Feb 2012    3

Moana and the Tribe: Moko (1998)

Moana and the Tribe: Moko (1998)

In the late Nineties, this song by Moana Maniapoto with her band the Moahunters was the Grand Jury Prize Winner in the International Songwriting Competition. It beat out over 11,000 other entries -- and, without hearing any of the others, we might say "rightly so". It is a remarkable piece, not just in its low and powerful delivery by Moana and the haunting production by Simon... more >>

8 Feb 2012

Flow: Call (Neda) (2010)

Flow: Call (Neda) (2010)

So, what are the first words which come to mind when you hear the word "Iran"? Probably not hip-hop, heavy metal, folk-rock or blues. Or Pink Floyd, as in this piece by the Iranian band Flow. This tribute is to the 26-year old music student Neda Agha-Soltan who was killed in student demonstrations in Tehran during June 2009 and became a symbol of resistance for young,... more >>

7 Feb 2012

Moana and the Moahunters: Treaty (1995)

Moana and the Moahunters: Treaty (1995)

February 6 has always been an important date in New Zealand's short history. On that day in 1840 a treaty was signed at Waitangi between the indigenous Maori people and the British crown. Over the many decades since, the Treaty of Waitangi has been a discussion point and Waitangi Day -- a national holiday -- was, especially in the fractious Nineties and beyond, a flashpoint for Maori... more >>

6 Feb 2012

George Strait and Alan Jackson: Murder on Music Row (2000)

George Strait and Alan Jackson: Murder on Music Row (2000)

There has been quite a tradition in country music of complaining about how it has lost its roots, lost its way, been taken over by big business and stars selling out for the almighty dollar. Way back Waylon asked Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way? and ol' Hank Williams (something of a rebel himself, remember) seems to be the touchstone for authenticity and the pure strain of country --... more >>

5 Feb 2012

Mandingo; Jungle Wedding (1973)

Mandingo; Jungle Wedding (1973)

The original cover of Mandingo's album The Primeval Rhythm of Life was singularly unhelpful. It just had titles on the front, some brief liner notes which started "Thousand upon thousands of years ago Man discovered that hitting two sticks together again and again . . ." and a list of instruments played. And you knew from the first track that this wasn't an African band. The... more >>

2 Feb 2012

Barry Ryan: Eloise (1968)

Barry Ryan: Eloise (1968)

In the late Sixties when this song appeared the rumour mill hit a peak. In the previous few years the twins Paul and Barry Ryan (who performed under that name) had clocked a steady string of decent, modest hits in Britain and - because they were only in their teens -- had graced the pages of many pop magazines at a time when the Beatles and the Stones were behaving in a far too adult a manner... more >>

1 Feb 2012    1

Oasis: The Shock of the Lightning (2003)

Oasis: The Shock of the Lightning (2003)

With the Gallagher brothers Liam and Noel going their own ways, at least for the time being (and some might wonder why they hadn't split up previously), you could almost get nostalgic for the glory that was Oasis. Definitely maybe the Morning Glory years, and then by judiciously sampling from those albums in the Nineties which came with braggadocio but dimishing musical returns. However... more >>

30 Jan 2012    1

Pere Ubu: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1975)

Pere Ubu: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1975)

Truly terrifying music is rare: there aren't that many pieces which make the hair on the back of your neck prickle, fill you with a sense of impending doom, make you feel uneasy somewhere deep within a part of your brain where rational thought no longer works for you. Pere Ubu -- whose debut album The Modern Dance appears at Essential Elsewhere incidentally -- manage that kind of music with... more >>

27 Jan 2012

The Beatles: Three Cool Cats (1962)

The Beatles: Three Cool Cats (1962)

Among the many odd things about the Beatles audition for Decca Records on January 1 1962 wasn't that the company's Dick Rowe famously turned them down saying they sounded too much like the Shadows and that groups with guitars were on their way out. On the evidence of the sessions the big question was, "What were the Beatles and their manager Brian Epstein thinking?" At the... more >>

26 Jan 2012

Pearl Bailey: A Man is a Necessary Evil (1956)

Pearl Bailey: A Man is a Necessary Evil (1956)

Hard to believe, but Richard Nixon once appointed an "Ambassador of Love". It was 1970 (after Woodstock, but also after Altamont and the Tet Offensive) and more unbelievable was just who he appointed . . . the sassy, sultry and sometimes topless vaudeville and cabaret star Pearl Bailey who had recorded albums in the Fifties and Sixties "for adults only". The frequently... more >>

25 Jan 2012

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: I'm a Man (2006)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: I'm a Man (2006)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers have not been short of greatest hits, collections, a bio-doco or a box set anthology. So in 2009 when the four CD set Live Anthology rolled around you might be forgiven for passing it by. Certainly there were flat spots in the running order which drew from three decades of shows, but the high points were many -- especially if you were a fan of the pre-Free... more >>

24 Jan 2012

John Lennon: Real Love (1979 demo)

John Lennon: Real Love (1979 demo)

When, in early 1994, the remaining Beatles (aka the Threetles) got together to work on the demo of the late John Lennon's Free As A Bird they at least had the bare bones of a vaguely interesting, if somewhat stodgy, song. Lennon's widow Yoko Ono had previously given McCartney three Lennon home demos at the induction of Lennon into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, and with the Beatles Anthology... more >>

23 Jan 2012    1

Peter Dawson: If In The Great Bazaars (date unknown)

Peter Dawson: If In The Great Bazaars (date unknown)

So who sold a lot of records then? Oh yeah Rihanna, right? And the Beatles and Elvis? And, of course, Peter Dawson. Peter Dawson? Yep, according to the liner notes on the (possibly) mid-Seventies album this track is lifted from, Dawson -- born in Adelaide in 1882, died Sydney in 1961 -- sold at least 14,000,000 records in his long career. His career reached from cylinder discs with the... more >>

20 Jan 2012

Rachel Sweet; Stranger in the House (1978)

Rachel Sweet; Stranger in the House (1978)

While no one actually used the word "jailbait" at the time, you can bet the idea passed through a few music writers' heads when the photos of Rachel Sweet came across their desks from Stiff Records. Actually, that's not entirely true: Stiff used the word about their young signing. Sweet -- from Akron, Ohio -- was just 16 when she broke through in Britain. But in the States she had... more >>

18 Jan 2012

Chris Bell: You and Your Sister (acoustic version, 1975)

Chris Bell: You and Your Sister (acoustic version, 1975)

The story of Big Star -- post-Beatles pop band in the Seventies like Badfinger and, like Badfinger, largely overlooked or dismissed as unfashionable at the time -- has been previously told at Elsewhere (see here), but there is a considerable amount of their wonderful material to pull from the vaults. And it doesn't all come from the pen of the late Alex Chilton whose eccentric course... more >>

17 Jan 2012

Sam Dees: We Always Come Back Strong (1972 demo)

Sam Dees: We Always Come Back Strong (1972 demo)

Southern soul songwriter Sam Dees was best known as the guy who penned hits and album tracks for the likes of Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight and many others. But in the late Sixties/early Seventies he recorded his own material to some small success, then put the microphone aside for the backroom writing. But he was a fine interpreter of his own material and this demo... more >>

16 Jan 2012

The Checkmates: Love is All I Have to Give (1969)

The Checkmates: Love is All I Have to Give (1969)

It is widely believed that crazy Phil Spector "retired" from pop production in '66 because he had been broken by Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep Mountain High -- what he considered his finest "wall of sound" production -- not going to the top of the charts. Certainly after it failed to be embraced by DJs and the American public he shut down his Philles label -- but as... more >>

13 Jan 2012

The Adverts: Gary Gilmore's Eyes (1977)

The Adverts: Gary Gilmore's Eyes (1977)

A noble entry in the "one-hit wonder" category, this punk era single by London's Adverts had all the key elements of the genre: short and buzzy, sounding just enough like the Damned et al to be recognisably punk, and also a subject matter that seemed to provoke. Ironically for the Adverts this was almost their second "one hit wonder" because their first single was in... more >>

12 Jan 2012