the bargain buy

The contents of this page relate to the bargain buy.

THE BARGAIN BUY: Echo and the Bunnymen: Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Echo and the Bunnymen: Original Album Series (Rhino)

Call it what you will -- nostalgia, history, the collector mentality -- but filling gaps in your archives or just rediscovering an artist or album just got a whole lot cheaper with the Original Album Series. Here, for example, are the first five Echo albums -- Crocodiles from '80, Heaven Up Here, Porcupine, Ocean Rain and their self-titled...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aretha Franklin; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aretha Franklin; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

It's widely acknowledged that Columbia really didn't know what to do with the young Aretha Franklin -- although it is a convenient myth that she didn't record much for them worth hearing. But it is certainly true that when she moved to Atlantic in '66 at age 24 and came under the tutelage of Jerry Wexler she found her voice as the finest...

THE BARGAIN BUY - David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger

THE BARGAIN BUY - David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger

David Bowie: Heroes/Lodger (EMI) While there's an easy case to make for Bowie's Low and Heroes albums to be in any Essential Elsewhere collection, Lodger from '79 -- his more difficult third album in "the Berlin trilogy" which he made with Brian Eno -- has always been overlooked or dismissed. Certainly it lacks that sudden...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Television; Marquee Moon

THE BARGAIN BUY: Television; Marquee Moon

Because they only recorded this debut and the rather indifferent Adventure the following year before breaking up, you might expect this New York four-piece to not really have made a mark in the manner of their long-running peers the Ramones, Talking Heads and Blondie. But this debut album was so exceptional -- and so different from the...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Boz Scaggs; Silk Degrees

THE BARGAIN BUY: Boz Scaggs; Silk Degrees

These days singer/songwriter Boz Scaggs is more of a jazzman -- as witnessed by his album Speak Low of 2008. But in the mid Seventies, in those days just before disco started turning into a formula and a cliche, he made some beautifully soulful dance-pop which was not only radio-friendly but was subtle, understated and tasteful. He'd come a...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Joy Division; Unknown Pleasures

THE BARGAIN BUY: Joy Division; Unknown Pleasures

Joy Division's debut album, for the sound of Martin Hannett's production alone, changed the way people thought about music in the post-punk era. Here was glacially smooth and dark music with theatrical intent and a poetic sensibility. It sounded astonishingly gloomy (lines like "where will it end" and "she's lost control...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Nebraska/The Ghost of Tom Joad

Elsewhere has already made the case for Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska as an Essential Elsewhere album. It was not only a great album but a turning point in his career: it allowed him to step away from the bombast and hype and become a singer of depth and longevity outside of rock's over-hyped expectation. That he followed it up with Born...

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

The life, times, opinions and music of Frank Zappa are too huge and diverse to come to terms with easily. What is beyond question (and some of his music and opinions were questionable) is that the man had a rare and impressive musical reach -- from doo-wop to orchestral music and all points between and beyond -- and when he was in satirical mode...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Jesus and Mary Chain: Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Jesus and Mary Chain: Original Album Series (Rhino)

The Jesus and Mary Chain out of Glasgow certainly alienated audiences when they first appeared: not the least for performances which barely stretched past the 15 or 20 minute mark. But it was their noise-drenched guitar sonics and distant, droning vocals on their debut album Psychocandy in '85 -- which took aspects of the Velvet Underground...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aerosmith; Toys in the Attic (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Aerosmith; Toys in the Attic (Sony)

There's a fairly lazy shorthand about Aerosmith, they are the band that so wanted to be the Rolling Stones that over time frontman Steve Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry started to look like Mick and Keith. That is sort of true, but --  especially in their early days -- they had a rock momentum and sound of their own. They did however draw...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Jeff Buckley; Mystery White Boy (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Jeff Buckley; Mystery White Boy (Sony)

Jeff Buckley -- who died in '97 -- didn't have much time to make an impression, but the scant recorded evidence in his lifetime was enormously impressive. And of course posthumous releases like the So Real album, and these live tracks taken from shows on his world tour in '95 and '96 confirmed the feeling that we had lost a wonderful, if...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The J. Geils Band; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The J. Geils Band; Original Album Series (Rhino)

Way before their mainstream commercial success with songs like Centrefold, the J Geils Band were a highly successful blues-rock outfit with the harmonica of Magic Dick front'n'centre. In the early to mid Seventies they peeled off great and likable slices of boogie rock, and would cover material by the likes of John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins,...

Peter Wolf: Midnight Souvenirs (Verve)

Peter Wolf: Midnight Souvenirs (Verve)

The J Geils Band popped up recently at Elsewhere with a cheap set of their early albums as a Bargain Buy -- and here is the world-worn r'n'b blues voice of their singer Wolf in a collection of memorable (and often vaguely) familiar songs which sound peeled off from the Stones '68 to '76 or the more ballad end of Chris Bailey of the Saints (who...

Section 25: Looking from a Hilltop, Megamix (1980)

Section 25: Looking from a Hilltop, Megamix (1980)

The jury is perhaps still out on Blackpool's Section 25: dismissed in some circles as a pallid version of Joy Division/New Order for their electronica dance music, hailed by others who heard in them an innovative band well in the vanguard of post-punk dance pop. Sharing a label with Joy Division/New Order and A Certain Ratio (also with whom...

Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

Because many of us used to read album covers with something approaching an obsession when we were first buying records, we got to know the names of songwriters (Charles and Inez Foxx always sounded so mysterious when I found them on the first Downliners Sect album) and even producers. So imagine my confusion when I saw the name "Gene...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Born to Run (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bruce Springsteen; Born to Run (Sony)

It's commonly enough noted that this was the album which got Springsteen onto the covers of Newsweek and Time in the same week in October 1975. But looking at the size of those magazines today -- thin, articles of almost haiku length -- it is hard for many to understand now what that actually meant. They were massive-selling and influential...

Gary US Bonds: Quarter to Three (1961)

Gary US Bonds: Quarter to Three (1961)

In the DVD doco accompanying the box set version of The Promise -- the songs recorded while waiting to start a new album after Born to Run -- Bruce Springsteen talks about how he was a product of Top 40 radio, those great three minute songs which set you free just for that moment in time. And E Street Band member Steven Van Zandt later says...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

Brian Eno once said that there would come a time when the Velvet Underground were discussed in the same breath as the Beatles with regard to their influence and importance. He said that when very few people in rock culture had really given serious consideration to this band out of New York which recalibrated the coordinates of rock music....

The Savage Rose: A Girl I Knew (1968)

The Savage Rose: A Girl I Knew (1968)

Since Richie Unterberger wrote Unknown Legends of Rock'n'Roll: Psychedelic Unknowns, Mad Genuises, Punk Pioneers, Lo-Fi Mavericks and More in 1998, many of the artists he unearthed (Wanda Jackson, the Chocolate Watch Band, Roky Erickson, Can etc) have enjoyed some considerable cult -- and sometimes even mainstream, success. Jeez, Sandy Denny...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Adele: 21 (XL)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Adele: 21 (XL)

Adele's debut album of two years ago -- 19, when she was 19 -- announced the arrival of a great British soul voice even if some of her original material wasn't quite as strong as it could have been. Still, she was only 19 -- but she hardly deserved to be lumped in with the new breed of British women singers coming through (notably Amy...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Wilson Pickett; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Wilson Pickett; Original Album Series (Rhino)

For many people their sole knowledge of Wilson Pickett might be as the guy who did/didn't turn up at the end of The Comittments, the invisible inspiation for that band. A few might know of his great song Land of 1000 Dances which -- ironicaly, like the Beatles' Twist and Shout -- came right at the end of the so-called dance craze era, or...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Specials; The Specials and More Specials

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Specials; The Specials and More Specials

What the most recent waves of ska revivalist don't quite get is, aside from the terrific beat, their mentor bands from the UK like the Specials and the Beat in the late Seventies/early Eighties (the first wave of ska revival) also nailed home some pretty important lyrics. Message songs in many cases. The Specials were in the vanguard of...

The Fleshtones (featuring Lenny Kaye): Brooklyn Sound Solution (YepRoc)

The Fleshtones (featuring Lenny Kaye): Brooklyn Sound Solution (YepRoc)

The limited edition of this album comes with a DVD doco about this New York garageband. It's entitled Pardon Us For Living But the Graveyard is Full and that's apt, the Fleshtones have been around forever (well, at least 30 years) and in all that time they have studiously avoided anything like polish or finesse. Here they crank out...

FRANK: THE VOICE by JAMES KAPLAN

FRANK: THE VOICE by JAMES KAPLAN

When he died, Time ran an eight-page tribute and put him on the cover with a simple tag-line: “Francis Albert Sinatra 1915 – 1998”. They might have added “The Voice”, “Old Blue Eyes”, “He Did It His Way” or some other catch-phrase, but none could have encompassed the complexity of...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Carole King: Tapestry Legacy Edition (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Carole King: Tapestry Legacy Edition (Sony)

The literary term "roman a clef" refers to a novel which is a thinly disguised story based on real events, and maybe we could also use it in the context of film and telelvision. Certainly the '96 movie Grace of My Heart by Allison Anders -- which starred Illeana Douglas as a jobbing songwriter turned solo singer -- followed fairly...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Isley Brothers; The Essential Isley Brothers (Sony Legacy)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Isley Brothers; The Essential Isley Brothers (Sony Legacy)

The great Isley Brothers out of Cincinnati have hardly received their due by rock and pop writers (although they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in '92). Yet they crafted some of the sassiest, slippery and and most sexy funk-rock'n'pop of their era, which was long. They first troubled the charts in '59, were dominant if not...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Margie Joseph; Original Album Series (Atlantic/Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Margie Joseph; Original Album Series (Atlantic/Rhino)

The point of the on-going weekly Bargain Buy suggestion is not just to direct readers to fine music going cheap, but to also encourage you to take a chance on an unknown or only vaguely familiar name because the album(s) recommended are . . . yes, cheap. A perfect example is this five CD set by Margie Joseph out of Mississippi whose pedigree...

Steve and Eydie: Black Hole Sun (1997)

Steve and Eydie: Black Hole Sun (1997)

The fad for lounge music in the late Nineties was amusing enough, but inevitably most of what emerged was forgettable. (Although who could expunge this from the memory.) Still, groups like Pizzicato Five were kind of amusing, and it was good to hear the great Esquivel and Martin Denny's names being mentioned in hip'n'fashionable...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bootsy's Rubber Band; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Bootsy's Rubber Band; Original Album Series (Rhino)

With a more wobbly funk bass than his former boss James Brown, some psychedelic humour, Brown's horn players, Bernie Worrell on keyboards and George Clinton producing, it was almost impossible for Bootsy Collins to miss the huge target of the dancefloor from the mid Seventies. And two of the albums in this five CD set (in replicas of the...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ornette Coleman; Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Ornette Coleman; Original Album Series (Rhino)

The great saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman never seems to have been in any doubt about how he might influence the course of music: the title of his first album was The Shape of Jazz to Come (an Essential Elsewhere album here) and that was followed by Change of the Century. Then there was the bald assertion of This is Our Music, his...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours

THE BARGAIN BUY: Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours

As with jazz artists such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk who had complex careers, so too Frank Sinatra poses a problem for beginners. Where to start? Let's make it simple. You start right here with this album from 1955. In the Wee Small Hours -- only Sinatra's second album, he'd been recording for years but the LP...

BOB DYLAN'S THEME TIME RADIO HOUR: Turn your radio on

BOB DYLAN'S THEME TIME RADIO HOUR: Turn your radio on

In the excellent DVD doco The Never Ending Narrative, a legion of rock writing worthies line up to discuss Bob Dylan's remarkable late-career reinvention. Nigel Williamson is both amused and slightly annoyed that not only did Dylan start making some of the best music of his career, but he also took on Williamson's area and proved to be one...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Guys with guitars?

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Guys with guitars?

Here's a simple question with an unusual answer. Given all those Bargain Buy album sets in the Sony "Original Album CLassics" series -- everyone from Simon and Garfunkel, to Elvis, Billy Joel and Santana . . . which set has been selling the most in New Zealand through JB Hi-Fi stores? It is one of the most unexpected answers...

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