Absolute Elsewhere

Subscribe to my newsletter for weekly updates.


2 Dec 2019  |  11 min read

Yes, it is that time again when contentious lists are posted about the Best Albums of The Year. And we can only reiterate what we always say,: the “best” albums are those which you enjoyed the most. End of that discussion? The more obscure an album does not – in Elsewhere's world anyway – mean it is any better than a blockbuster by, say, Taylor Swift.... > Read more

PHIL GARLAND REMEMBERED (2019): Singer of a young colony

25 Nov 2019  |  3 min read

Had it not been for a chance encounter, Phil Garland's career might have gone in a very different direction. Garland – who died in 2017 and is considered this country's foremost archivist of colonial-era folk songs and singer-songwriter in the genre – was born in Christchurch and came of age during the rock'n'roll era of the Fifties. Despite singing in the church choir and... > Read more

ROUTE 66 REVISITED (2019): On the road again . . . and again

20 Nov 2019  |  2 min read

Route 66 has been covered by everyone from Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones to big band jazz groups and bar bands everywhere. It's a rock'n'roll standard largely because of Berry's version so . . . Here's Chuck Berry from 1961 who made this song into a rock'n'roll era hit in the late Fifties, even though its origins were earlier. and his version influenced the young Rolling... > Read more

BOB DYLAN: TRAVELIN' THRU; THE BOOTLEG SERIES VOL 15 CONSIDERED (2019): Were we ready for the country?

7 Nov 2019  |  5 min read  |  1

In retrospect, it was really no surprise that in the late Sixties as the psychedelic top spun wildly that Bob Dylan should return after an 18 month absence with simpler music on the albums John Wesley Harding, Nashville Skyline and Self Portrait, much of which had a country influence. The motorcycle accident in July '66 which literally took him off the road allowed him to go up country into... > Read more

Mountain Dew

THE BEATLES, THE SINGLES COLLECTION (2019): The long and winding road to your . . .

3 Nov 2019  |  6 min read  |  1

Should anyone still be in any doubt, let's be clear. That long and winding road which Paul McCartney sang about half a century ago leads from the office of the Beatles' Apple accountants and marketing department to your wallet. How does it do that? Let me count just some of the ways. Since the Beatles' final recordings 50 years ago there have been... > Read more

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