Absolute Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.

JAMES MACKINTOSH OF SHOOGLENIFTY INTERVIEWED (2019): From the Scottish Highlands to northwest India

16 Oct 2019  |  10 min read

Percussionist James Mackintosh sees the irony. When he was a teenager growing up in the picturesque Scottish Highlands at Fort William he was in a spiky-haired punk band playing Clash covers. It was only when he went to the big smoke of Edinburgh – once nicknamed Auld Reekie for the smoke from coal fires – that he started to play traditional Scottish music. These days,... > Read more

The High Road to Jodhpur/Am Bothan a Bh'aig Fionnghuala

GREG FLEMING, GET OFF AT LINCOLN ALBUM: (2019) A track-by-track drive-by from Greg

14 Oct 2019  |  5 min read

Elsewhere makes no secret of its admiration for the work of Auckland singer-songwriter Greg Fleming and his band the Working Poor. Call them country-rock or rocking-country if you will, we think they just deliver hard-edged songs about real life and lives, snapshots of people and places, political and social commentary and much more. Previous Fleming albums have ended up in... > Read more

BOB DYLAN, BROWNSVILLE GIRL CONSIDERED (1986): The classic that got away?

14 Oct 2019  |  11 min read

By the mid Eighties, Bob Dylan's career was in considerable disarray. After the so-called "Christian trilogy" there had been two mostly middling albums -- Infidels and Empire Burlesque -- and he seemed directionless. The old gunfighter who once commanded the territory had been outdrawn by his acolytes, notably Patti Smith and Bruce Springsteen. There had been any number of... > Read more

LLOYD COLE, REVISITED (2019): Adding the Guesswork to synth-pop

9 Oct 2019  |  1 min read

The first person to answer a Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire was . . . Lloyd Cole, the transplanted-to-USA British songwriter who leapt to attention with the album Rattlesnakes in '84 with his band the Commotions. We'd interviewed him back in 2000 and when he toured in 2011we , pressed for time, invented a Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire for him . . . and since then scores and scores of... > Read more

THE BEATLES: ABBEY ROAD REMIXED AND EXPANDED; PART THREE (2019): We never give them our money . . .

3 Oct 2019  |  6 min read

We mentioned in our second part of this look at the Beatles' Abbey Road album but it bears repeating. Despite whatever personal issues they had between them, when the Beatles got together in the studio with a real focus – as they did for this album -- they not only played well but, in the words of the old school reports, played well with others. In Part One we... > Read more

Old Brown Shoe (take 2)

THE BEATLES: ABBEY ROAD REMIXED AND EXPANDED; PART TWO (2019): And in the end, they all came together

30 Sep 2019  |  7 min read  |  1

In Part One of this overview of the 50thanniversary, remixed Abbey Road, Elsewhere looked at the background to the recording of the album, and other previous articles considered the album's iconic cover and the history of the recording studio itself. Here we look at the double CD edition of Abbey Road, one disc being the new mix by Giles Martin with Sam Okell and the other the album... > Read more

I Want You (She's So Heavy) from the sessions disc

THE BEATLES: ABBEY ROAD REMIXED AND EXPANDED; PART ONE (2019): Here come the sun kings, again

20 Sep 2019  |  4 min read

It is a sad irony that the last album the Beatles recorded, the polished smooth Abbey Road and arguably best produced album of their career, would not be the one to act as a coda to their lifespan and the decade they defined. That belonged to Let It Be -- the music recorded earlier in 1969 under less than ideal conditions with the band fraying at the edges and centre. It was only nominally... > Read more

The End

THE BEATLES, ABBEY ROAD (2009): A classic from the cover on in

16 Sep 2019  |  10 min read  |  1

Four decades ago the Beatles released Abbey Road, the album that marked the end of their career even though the inferior Let It Be would appear later, a sad coda to decade which they defined. Producer George Martin loved Abbey Road and considered it “Sgt Pepper, Mark II . . . it was innovatory but in a controlled way, unlike The Beatles and Let It Be which were a little beyond... > Read more

The Beatles: Come Together

JIMMY NICOL REMEMBERED (2019): Meet the “Beatle”

1 Sep 2019  |  5 min read

At any serious panel discussion or barroom debate, most would agree that if you had to choose a “fifth Beatle” it would be George Martin. He was their producer, arranger and sometime contributor (that's him on piano, sped up to sound like a harpsichord, on Lennon's In My Life) who supported their musical curiosity and ambition. But a sixth Beatle? Perhaps Stu Sutcliffe,... > Read more


8 Jul 2019  |  4 min read

Give the English credit, they do eccentricity and whimsy better than anyone. And when it enters popular music – the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, the Soft Boys, Half Man Half Biscuit and so many others – the performers bring a curious humour which can be part satirical, part wry social observation and often droll and funny. Who could resist... > Read more

We Will Be Your Guru

MANCHESTER, IN THE MEANTIME (2019): Location location location

5 Jul 2019  |  3 min read

There's an opinion – which has considerable validity – that the internet has killed the idea of a music “scene” being able to grow in the absence of the spotlight. For example, if just two bands in the next fortnight out of the university city of Uppsala north of Stockholm in Sweden (population about 200,000) released albums, then suddenly the web – and those... > Read more

Innocents, by John Cooper Clarke and the Curious Yellows (1977)

THE AMAZING VOICE OF TIMI YURO (2019): Soulful, sassy and show tunes

29 Jun 2019  |  4 min read  |  2

When PJ Proby burst onto the British pop scene in 1964 he was an amazing anomoly. The Texas-born singer had been doing demos for various people in the States (including Elvis) and arrived in the UK to appear on a Beatles television special. He cracked a number of big pop hits in '64-'65 (Hold Me, Mission Bell, Let the Water Run Down) and with his velvet suits and ponytail (adopted from the... > Read more

I Apologise

EDDIE HINTON CONSIDERED (2019): The rainbow writer behind the cloud

25 Jun 2019  |  3 min read  |  1

There's one particular annoyance when talking about music in a general conversation with people who aren't argumentative nitpickers and know the name of the second engineer on a Dylan album from the late Eighties no one cares about. It comes in mixed company over dinner or at a function when you suggest a particular artist is “little known”. Then some middle-aged man (it's... > Read more

Standing on the Mountain, by Percy Sledge

MICKIE MOST CONSIDERED (2019): Pop music all present and correct, Sir. Future predicted . . .

20 Jun 2019  |  5 min read

You may not care much – or indeed, at all – for the populist music Mickie Most produced, but you can't deny his gift when it came to picking and creating chart hits. It's quite some musical, generational and genre distance between Donovan's tripped out Mellow Yellow and Sunshine Superman then Kim Wilde's Kids in America, Jeff Beck's singular Ho-Ho Silver Lining  . . . .... > Read more

Sunshine Superman (extended mono mix), by Donovan

SCOTT MANNION INTERVIEWED (2019): El grand jefe of Lil' Chief

7 Jun 2019  |  5 min read

It's a Sunday night in the mountain village of Chelva, about an hour from Valencia on Spain's Mediterranean coast. And Scott Mannion has spent some time today in the garden. “Yeah, some music today but also that. Julie's away for the weekend and I was left in charge of weeding which is usually her thing,” he laughs, referring to his wife, the Greek artist Julie... > Read more

DAVID BOWIE: LODGER, CONSIDERED AT 40 (2019): The fantastic voyage into the familiarly unfamiliar

16 May 2019  |  4 min read

Although accepted as the final installment of David Bowie's “Berlin Trilogy” which started with Low and "Heroes", the Lodger album – released 40 years ago in May 1979 – never felt, or even looked, part of the set. Where the covers of its predecessors offered a more muted experience – on Low we see Bowie in profile, kind of low profile as it were... > Read more

Look Back in Anger (1979)

VANILLA FUDGE: THE BEAT GOES ON, CONSIDERED (2019): The most pointless album of the rock era?

13 May 2019  |  4 min read

When Vanilla Fudge released their Shadow Morton-produced album The Beat Goes On in 1968 the times and drugs were different. Rock musicians were reaching, and often over-reaching, the idea of a “concept” album had become embedded after Sgt Pepper, singles were being sneered at and albums – often with pretensions to classical influences – were where you could make Your... > Read more

THE NEW ORLEANS JAZZ AND HERITAGE FESTIVAL (2019): Celebrating 50 years of itself in a big box set

10 May 2019  |  3 min read

Things are strange when this year Fleetwood Mac headlined one night at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, standing in for the Stones because Mick Jagger was having heart surgery. Yes, the Macband used to play the blues, but that was many decades ago and you wouldn't have thought they'd have much, if anything, to do with the “jazz” and “heritage”... > Read more

Big Chief, Professor Longhair


6 May 2019  |  3 min read  |  2

Although the Allman name was carried by brother Gregg for decades after the death of Duane, it was that classic Allman Brothers Band which many today default to. After Duane was killed in a motorcycle accident in '71 – leaving behind just three ABB studio albums with him (their self-titled debut in '69, Idlewild South the following year and the posthumous East a Peach in '72) and... > Read more

BANDSTAND, AT AUDIOCULTURE (2019): Kiwi musicians on Australian screens

30 Apr 2019  |  1 min read

Video may have killed the radio star for the MTV generation, but during the 1960s in Australia, radio stars became household faces when they appeared on the small screen. In New Zealand the 1960s pop programmes In the Groove, Let’s Go, C’mon and Happen Inn(then Free Ride in the early 70s) by producer Kevan Moore – appointment viewing for a young audience wanting to see... > Read more