harry nilsson

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Richard Swift: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort

Richard Swift: The Novelist/Walking Without Effort

This utterly engrossing double disc brings together Californian Swift's two previously released (but rare) albums from a couple of years ago which were made up of singles he drip-fed over the years. This reissue announces to the wider world (and me, I'd never heard of him) his particular, quiet genius. At times his easy-on-the-ear...

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

Richard Swift: Dressed Up For the Letdown (Secretly Canadian) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007

The previous album by this Californian singer-songwriter -- actually a double disc collection of his previously released singles and EPs -- made an appearance on Elsewhere many months ago and I hailed it to the skies. And I've played it with alarming frequency ever since a first hearing. This is his fully-fledged debut album proper, and...

Warren Zevon: Preludes (Elite)

Warren Zevon: Preludes (Elite)

Among the very few autographs of stars that I have is one sent to me, unsolicited, by Warren Zevon after I'd interviewed him. On it he wrote: "To Graham. Good luck!" Given Zevon was something of a dark and mischievious character I wondered if that "good luck" suggested he might know of something disconcerting lurking...

The Incredible Bongo Band: Bongo Rock (Elite)

The Incredible Bongo Band: Bongo Rock (Elite)

Formed in the early 70s by record company exec and musician Michael Viner with composer Perry Botkin Jnr, the Incredible Bongo Band was an informal gaggle of musicians who got together to capitalise on a one-off single lifted from the soundtrack to the B-movie The Thing With Two Heads. Recording in Canada because it was cheap and they would...

Josh Rouse: Country Mouse, City House (Bedroom Classics)

Josh Rouse: Country Mouse, City House (Bedroom Classics)

Rouse has an interesting record collection: we know this because for a few albums -- notably 1972 which nodded to Seventies singer-songwriters, and Nashville which raided 80s pop, rock and indie music -- have sounded like a man rummaging through his musical closet for new clothes to wear. It's fair to say his best album was Under Cold Blue...

Jude: Redemption (Naive/Elite)

Jude: Redemption (Naive/Elite)

There are those of us old enough/smart enough/obsessed enough to know that Paul McCartney's Ram album of '71 -- his first fully-fledged album after being in His Previous Band -- was among the three best albums of his very long post-Beatles career. (see tag) So maybe only we few might fully appreciate this album by a man called Jude. Okay,...

Ray Davies: Working Man's Cafe (V2/Shock)

Ray Davies: Working Man's Cafe (V2/Shock)

Ray Davies -- formerly of the Kinks (see tag to an Essential Elsewhere Kinks album) -- has had a busy time of it lately: in late 2003 the great English songwriter (of Englishness) was awarded an OBE, a week later he was shot in the leg in New Orleans, his Other People's Lives solo album in 2006 was much praised (it also comes with insightful...

Kelley Stoltz: Circular Sounds (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

Kelley Stoltz: Circular Sounds (SubPop/Rhythmethod)

These one-man-band singer-songwriters such as Richard Swift, Jude, Hobotalk and others who have appeared in Elsewhere are just so irritatingly good they send you into a spin. As with those others mentioned Stoltz from San Francisco (who multi--tracks just about every instrument here) sounds like something more than the sum of his considerable...

Wayne Mason and the Fallen Angels: Sense Got Out (Ode)

Wayne Mason and the Fallen Angels: Sense Got Out (Ode)

Singer-songwriter Wayne Mason may be best (and in some circles only) known as the guy who wrote the Kiwi classic Nature for the Fourmyula (later covered by the Mutton Birds). But that was almost four decades ago and he has spent the intervening period crafting equally excellent material for the Warratahs (until '94), and now delivers them on...

Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)

Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)

It was a tragic irony that Dennis Wilson, the only genuine surf-rat in the Beach Boys, should have drowned. But by 1983 when he died in the waters of Marina Del Rey, he was a spent force who had succumbed to alcohol, depression and cocaine -- and he'd only recorded one solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue in 1977. That was also a tragedy because...

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Jimmy Webb and the Webb Brothers: Cottonwood Farm (Proper/Southbound)

Anyone who has followed the career of the great songwriter Jimmy Webb (interviewed at Elsewhere here) will attest to two things: he crafts memorable material (all those hits for Glen Campbell, the gorgeous minimalism of The Moon's A Harsh Mistress made famous by Joe Cocker, the baroque McArthur Park) and he ain't much of a singer. Like...

GOODFELLAS, a film by MARTIN SCORSESE: Making a killing in crime

GOODFELLAS, a film by MARTIN SCORSESE: Making a killing in crime

Within the ever-expanding genre of gangster flicks - from 1931 and James Cagney's Irish hood in Little Caesar to the quiet menace of Tony Soprano - there could never be consensus about the best Mob movie in any first-past-the-post system. But Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas from 1990 would certainly take the prize in any...

MIKE McGEAR'S VANISHED MASTERPIECE: Brother can you spare me the time?

MIKE McGEAR'S VANISHED MASTERPIECE: Brother can you spare me the time?

Perhaps "masterpiece" is too strong a word, but the singer-songwriter Mike McGear -- a member of Liverpool's poetry/music group the Scaffold who scored the '68 hit single Lily the Pink -- did crack quite a remarkable album in 1974, which seems to have disappeared entirely. Simply entitled McGear, it was originally released on...

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back (EMI)

An album where an artist covers the material of others is hardly a new concept, but you can guess that Peter Gabriel -- the ever sensitive quality controller, with his first album in eight years -- brings something special to the table. Here he is on songs by those of his generation such as David Bowie (Heroes), Paul Simon (Boy in the...

Her Make Believe Band: AM Radio (Old Oak)

Her Make Believe Band: AM Radio (Old Oak)

This delightful album by two expat Kiwis Cy Winstanley and Vanessa McGowan has been quite rightly picking up favourable notices in the UK where they are now based as part of the group Her Make Believe Band. Certainly the references to Paul Simon (for lightness of touch and literacy in places) make sense but there is as much pop here as folk...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 John Grant: Queen of Denmark (Shock)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 John Grant: Queen of Denmark (Shock)

Although he recorded three albums with the band the Czars, we should perhaps treat this quite exceptional, moving, funny, droll and heart-breaking singer-songwriter as a new artist. And on those terms he immediately places himself in the company of early Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and a more humorous Rufus Wainwright for songs like Sigourney...

Neil Diamond: Dreams (Sony)

Neil Diamond: Dreams (Sony)

After trying for the same late-career revival as Johnny Cash with producer Rick Rubin - to lesser commercial and critical success -- Diamond now delivers the album he has said he's always wanted to do: a collection of covers, including his own early song I'm A Believer made famously a hit by the Monkees. Diamond is a man who always seems to...

HARRY NILSSON PROFILED. The fire this time

HARRY NILSSON PROFILED. The fire this time

The too-short life of the greatly under-appreciated singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson (1941-94) was full of bitter ironies: not the least was that this gifted songwriter's biggest hits were written by others. His memorable Without You was penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans from the Beatles-blessed power poppers, Badfinger; and although...

The Beach Boys: In the Back of My Mind (1965)

The Beach Boys: In the Back of My Mind (1965)

In the very interesting DVD doco Brian Wilson; Songwriter 1962 - 1969,  Bruce Johnston -- who replaced Brian in the touring line-up of the Beach Boys in the mid Sixties -- identifies this song as anticipating the classic BB album Pet Sounds. It appeared on the album The Beach Boys Today!, a record which largely went past many people who...

David Peel and the Lower East Side: Up Against The Wall (1968)

David Peel and the Lower East Side: Up Against The Wall (1968)

New York's David Peel was living proof of the adage, "It isn't what you know, it's who you know". And how you could milk that association -- however brief -- for all it's worth. He was also one of those "only in New York" guys. In the late Sixties when this insightful if reductive piece of political rhetoric was...

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2010): The school and sound of hard knocks

JOE COCKER INTERVIEWED (2010): The school and sound of hard knocks

It's a trick question, but see how you go: Who's the odd one out in this list; Hannah Montana, Britney Spears, Joe Cocker or Justin Bieber? The answer is, of course . . . the Bieber boy. He's the only one who hasn't had a song written for him by former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi. But the real question is, what is 66-year...

JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEWED (2005). The songwriter's songwriter

JIMMY WEBB INTERVIEWED (2005). The songwriter's songwriter

When Jimmy Webb, one of the most sophisticated and successful songwriters of his generation, speaks of making music it is like eavesdropping on genius. And that is what he is considered to be by his peers and those who have followed his long career. Before he was 21 Webb had already written some of pop’s most enduring songs, including...

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Joe Cocker: Hard Knocks (Sony)

Cocker at 66 is candid enough to say that the idea behind this album was to get him on radio because -- good though his last one Hymn For My Soul was -- it didn't sell as expected. That meant bringing in another producer (Matt Serletic who had done good work for Collective Soul and Matchbox 20), getting the word out for radio-friendly...

DENNIS LECORRIERE INTERVIEWED (2003): Is there a Doctor in the house?

DENNIS LECORRIERE INTERVIEWED (2003): Is there a Doctor in the house?

Dennis Locorriere spends most of the hour laughing and is more amused than irritated that many people mistake him for someone else. Locorriere - with slight streaks of silver at his temples and celebrating his 54th birthday on this day - is the voice of Dr Hook. But he wasn't the face of that Seventies hit-making machine which cluttered...

Richard Harris: A Tramp Shining (1968)

Richard Harris: A Tramp Shining (1968)

Because there is a such a lot of great music about these days -- and of such overwhelming diversity -- you'd sound like you were wallowing in nostalgia if you suggested things were better in the old days. But in one way they were. Look at the singles charts. Once upon a time you got magnificent oddities being played on rapid rotate...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What (Hear Music)

One of the things Paul Simon is seldom given credit for is his sense of humor. He too often comes off the kind of earnest New York Jewish singer-songwriter you imagine reads Dostoevsky at night but listens to doo-wop and old soul because he thinks it might be good for him. Yet this is the man who did that clip for You Can Call Me Al with...

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III INTERVIEWED (2008): The family that sings together . . .

LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III INTERVIEWED (2008): The family that sings together . . .

These days American singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III -- touted as a “new Dylan” at the dawn of the 70s and whose critically acclaimed 20 or so albums since have skirted the edges of public acceptance -- is pretty well known, but perhaps not for his own sake: he is father to famous Rufus and fairly-famous Martha. But Loudon...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas (Inertia)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas (Inertia)

Alongside his Alzheimer's diagnosis and a farewell tour comes this self-announced “final studio album” by the 75-year old legend whose career spans from LA session guitar work in the late 50s as one of the famous Wrecking Crew on Phil Spector productions, to being a touring Beach Boy, solo hits with Jimmy Webb songs and movies...

PAUL SIMON INTERVIEWED (2000) The Attraction of Opposites

PAUL SIMON INTERVIEWED (2000) The Attraction of Opposites

Paul Simon calls from New York 15 minutes early, polite and apologetic. He needs to put the kids to bed -- his three children aged 7, 5 and 2 with his third wife, 34-year-old singer-songwriter Edie Brickell -- and read them stories. Could he call back in maybe an hour and a quarter?And, as you might expect from the man's almost obsessive,...

RANDY NEWMAN INTERVIEWED: What's the Buzz? (1999)

RANDY NEWMAN INTERVIEWED: What's the Buzz? (1999)

Randy Newman is a problem in popular culture, a man misplaced into the rock textbooks simply because there's nowhere else to put him. He's part of rock culture by association (his albums are reviewed in rock magazines) but more correctly he's an ironic, acerbic songwriter who has populated his songs with an extraordinary collection of bigots,...

PAUL SIMON; GRACELAND, AGAIN (2012): We can all be received . . .

PAUL SIMON; GRACELAND, AGAIN (2012): We can all be received . . .

Hard to believe from this distance of some 25 years, but Paul Simon's award-winning and much loved Graceland album of 1986 – which went on to sell around 15 million copies – was once a flashpoint for protest and rage. Strange, when you listen to magical songs like the buoyant title track which shimmers over mercury smooth...

Paul and Linda McCartney, Ram (1971)

Paul and Linda McCartney, Ram (1971)

Sir James Paul McCartney has released around 40 albums under his own name  -- or that of Wings, with his late wife Linda, or under some other nom de disque -- since the break-up of the Beatles in 1970. That's about an album a year, and even if we take out live releases or compilations, his strike rate is astonishingly...

Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)

Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)

The too-short life of the greatly under-appreciated singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson (1941-94) was full of bitter ironies: not the least was that this gifted songwriter's biggest hits were written by others. His memorable Without You was penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans from the Beatles-blessed power poppers, Badfinger; and although...

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